ADDISON - The driver of a log truck was injured and fuel spilled, after the truck lost control in a curve and overturned near Brushy Creek, resulting in a call to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management over possible water contamination issues.
The call actually came in to emergency 9-1-1 as a truck overturned and on fire, noted officials with the Addison Fire Department.
Michael Atchley, 49, of Cullman was driving a 1997 Kenworth truck hauling logs for Haynes Trucking in Bremen, when the accident occurred, according to authorities.
Atchley was operating the Kenworth on Highway 278 towards Addison around 2:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26, when the truck lost control in a sharp curve and overturned just off the right shoulder of the road, authorities on the scene said.
“It came across 9-1-1 as a vehicle on fire,” noted Kyle Woodard, secretary/treasurer of the Addison Fire Department. “It was not on fire. It was just a small amount of smoke showing when we got here.
“The smoke was just mainly because there were some batteries, acid, wiring shorting out,” Woodard noted. “No extrication. The driver was out, alert, talking to us,” Woodard added.
Atchley was reportedly out of the vehicle when first responders arrived on the scene, so firefighters did not have to use the Jaws of Life apparatus, they said.
Medics from Regional Paramedical Services ambulance treated Atchley on the scene then transported him to Huntsville Hospital, first responders said.
Atchley had informed first responders that he had “blacked out” while driving the rig and did not recall what happened.
“He said the last thing he remembered was coming off the hill,” Woodard said.
Firefighters noted Atchley complained on the scene of back and neck pain.
Winston County Emergency Management Director Jimmy Madison came on the scene, due to a fuel leak caused by the accident and the close proximity of Brushy Creek about a quarter mile away, that flows into Smith Lake. The accident had happened in the area of Brush Creek bridge.
“The only reason I’m here is the possibility of a fuel spill and make sure all environmental precautions are taken,” Madison said.
“We’re not sure how much diesel fuel has leaked onto the ground until we get the truck turned over, and make that determination whether or not we’ll have to take care of the amount of diesel fuel,” Madison pointed out.
“We have a lake stream below us here,” he noted, referring to Brushy Creek flowing into Smith Lake.
Madison was awaiting a call from ADEM, which was to discuss the scene and determine if a clean up crew was needed for the fuel spill.
“Right now, from what I’m seeing it’s at a very minimum and if it stays that, we’ll be in good shape,” Madison said.
Winston County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Brett Rodgers confirmed that less than 20 gallons had leaked out. The leak did not appear to have been enough to cause any contamination, but Madison contacted ADEM as a safety precaution.
“The original call said the truck was on fire. Our main concern was that the driver was out. The truck was smoking, but it was due to oil leaking down the exhaust and battery acid leaking out,” Rodgers said.
Traffic on Highway 278 was reduced to one lane by Addison firefighters and the sheriff’s office, until Lyle’s Wrecker Service of Haleyville could come on the scene and use equipment to lift the truck upright.
The accident caused many logs to be scattered into an area off the shoulder of the road and near a wood line.
Agencies responding to the scene included Winston County Sheriff’s Office, Addison Police, Addison Fire Department, RPS ambulance, Winston EMA, Lyle’s Wrecker Service.
Cause of the accident is being investigated by troopers with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.