Tanker crashes

heating oil spills

About 400 gallons flow into stream

November 07, 2006|By Nick Shields | Nick Shields,sun reporter

A tanker carrying 2,800 gallons of heating oil careened off a road in the Cockeysville area of northern Baltimore County yesterday, spilling about 400 gallons of the fuel into a stream, authorities said.

The truck driver was trying to make a turn on Ivy Hill Road, near Oregon Ridge Park, shortly after 11:30 a.m. when he lost control of the vehicle, crashed through a guardrail and rolled down an embankment, authorities said.

The tank separated from the chassis, and fuel leaked into a stream, Baisman Run, which empties into Beaver Dam Run.

The driver, who was not identified, was flown by state police helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was listed in serious condition.

The tanker was owned by C. Hoffberger Co., a heating oil company in Baltimore, authorities said. Attempts to reach a spokesman for the company were unsuccessful.

Geoffrey Donahue, an emergency response chief for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said crews placed containment booms in the water. The booms are designed to absorb the oil.

Robert Ballinger, a MDE spokesman, said yesterday afternoon that the oil had been contained and there were no signs of a fish kill or visible damage. He said the department will conduct an investigation into the spill.

In addition to MDE crews, county police officers and the county Fire Department were at the scene helping with containment.

Residents who live near the scene said it is common to have several accidents near the stream each year. They said the accidents occur because of a steep hill that is difficult to navigate, especially for larger trucks.

Brien Haigley, 45, said the tanker swerved across his front lawn before going into the stream. Haigley, who lives on Ivy Hill Road, estimated that each autumn two to four vehicles run into the rusted guardrail. He said the steep hill and fallen leaves contribute to accidents.

"I've never had any issues with them [crashing] into the house or anything," he said. "[The hill] gets on you before you know it - maybe if they put a sign at the hill."

Noah Offutt, who has lived less than a block from the stream for more than 35 years, said he has seen more than 100 vehicles crash into the water or the guardrail.

He said he heard the truck crash into the stream yesterday, but thought it was the construction crew he had hired to pave a road in front of his home.

"I've seen cars go into the stream, but nothing like this - nothing of this size," he said. "When the leaves get on the road, it's like an ice rink."

He said he has written several letters to county officials.

"I think they should limit the amount of truck traffic," he said. "The big, tremendous trucks that go across here should not be able to use this road."

nicholas.shields@baltsun.com

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