By JUSTIN RAINS
NECHES — A tanker truck carrying petroleum products overturned on FM 2574 in Neches early Wednesday morning, closing down portions of the road for most of the day and forcing the cancellation of classes in the Neches Independent School District.
Trooper Leonard Sandifer, a traffic enforcement and crash investigator with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the truck was traveling southbound on FM 19 just before 5 a.m. Wednesday when the driver missed the turn for a hazardous materials dump site.
The driver, Christopher Pelletier of Schertz, proceeded to try and turn around on FM 2574, Sandifer said, but came down the hill too fast before trying to make the turn.
“He came down the hill too fast and rolled over,” Sandifer said at the scene Wednesday.
After the wreck, the tanker began to leak condensate, a byproduct of some petroleum products, the trooper said.
Because condensate can have adverse affects on nervous systems when inhaled, the Haz-Mat teams cleaning up the site advised the closure of the Neches ISD campus while the cleanup was ongoing.
“We didn’t want to risk the kids,” Sandifer said.
The clean-up efforts forced the closure of FM 2574 beginning early Wednesday morning, starting at the intersection of FM 321 going east.
The railroad line traveling east-and-west through Neches also was closed initially, but was reopened to traffic around 9 a.m.
The tanker truck was cleared around 10:30 a.m., but clean up continued into the afternoon and was finally cleared around 3 p.m.
Pelletier, a driver for Palestine-based Leslie Services, suffered what Sandifer called “substantial” injuries in the wreck, but was expected to recover.