A 67-year-old Talkeetna man died early Thursday when the fuel tanker he was driving collided with a truck hauling an empty methane tanker on the Parks Highway north of Trapper Creek, Alaska State Troopers said.
The collision closed the highway, which reopened by 8 p.m. Thursday. It also resulted in the spill of an estimated 4,000 gallons of jet fuel, according to Anna Carey, central region manager for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
The driver of the southbound methane tanker lost control navigating a corner near Mile 133.5 around 1:30 a.m. and collided with the northbound fuel tanker, troopers said. The fuel tanker’s driver, David Hope, died at the scene. The other driver, who was not identified, was not injured.
Road conditions at the time of the crash weren’t immediately known. Conditions in the area were described by the Department of Transportation on Thursday afternoon as fair, with snow on the roadway, icy patches and a glaze of ice.
The temporary closure, which lasted much of Thursday with no detour route, stretched from from Mile 127 to 133.5.
The crash happened just north of the Chulitna River Bridge, said troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel.
The fuel tanker was owned by International Aviation Service, Carey said. The tanker had two trailers, one of which spilled during the collision, she said. Roughly 4,000 gallons of fuel spilled from one of the three compartments on the 11,000 gallon trailer, according to a situation report from the environmental conservation department.
Contractors were assessing the scene on Thursday. An International Aviation Service crew was starting to clean up the fuel, said Kelleen Kogane, vice president of the company.
Hope had worked for International Aviation Service for more than six years and was a valued employee who will be deeply missed, Kogane said.
“He was an excellent employee, an excellent driver,” she said.
His body was transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, troopers said.
There were no immediate impacts observed to the Chulitna River or wildlife, the report said. The Department of Fish and Game and Department of Natural Resources will help identify any potential impacts.
The methane tanker was owned by Titan Alaska LNG, McDaniel said.
Troopers encouraged drivers to check for updates on the Department of Transportation website.