ST. GEORGE — A semi truck carrying about 6,000 gallons of hot crude oil crashed about 13 miles north of St. George Wednesday, spilling an estimated 4,000 gallons, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.
About 5 p.m., troopers responded to an area near mile post 20 on I-15 where the semi was traveling south, went off the road and rolled into the median. The truck sustained extensive damage, and the driver received only minor injuries, according to UHP Sgt. Jake Hicks.
The cause of the crash was unknown.
The cab of the semi was completely separated from its frame, and the tanker came to rest on its side, spilling a large amount of the flammable oil onto the ground. The Utah Department of Transportation and the St. George Fire Department were working to contain the spill, and cleanup was expected to take a week for a hazardous materials crew, according to the UHP.
Witnesses reported seeing the driver walking from the scene of the crash, and it remained unclear whether he was wearing a seat belt and how he was able to exit the truck. The driver was taken to a local hospital in fair condition.
"As far as crashes go, and this being a very spectacular crash, we're very fortunate in a lot of ways," Hicks said. "It didn't happen in the city. This is a more remote area, the median is very large for the spill, and also, the driver is incredibly fortunate to be alive."
The tanker was registered to a trucking equipment company from Newport Beach, California.