ALLEN – In an accident where all parties somehow escaped serious injury Tuesday morning, a tanker truck turned over along State Highway 1 east of Ada, spilling more than 8,200 gallons of gasoline.

The roadway was closed for nearly five hours following the accident, as crews worked to control the spill. They were successful, using dirt to build a makeshift dam that kept the gas from rushing into a nearby creek.

“Our first concern, of course, was to respond to anyone who might have been hurt in the crash,” said Brian Manuel, Ada firefighter.

“Somehow, miraculously, nobody was hurt, and we then turned our attention to cleaning up the spill, and that turned into quite a job.”

The driver of the truck, Derrick Allen, 39, McAlester, suffered minor cuts and bruises in the accident and was later transported by private vehicle to a hospital after complaining of back pain. The driver of the car, Mary McAlester, 62, was not injured.

The accident and ensuing gasoline spill closed the highway from just after 10 a.m. until almost 3 p.m. Traffic, for the most part, was re-routed along the Kullihoma Road, an extra distance of about five miles.

According to emergency officials, McAlester was westbound toward Ada when a tire on her vehicle blew out, causing her to skid into the path of Allen’s eastbound truck.

The truck struck McAlester’s Lincoln in the rear and then overturned one time, coming to rest partially off the road.

Crews worked quickly to construct the makeshift dam, fighting temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s throughout the afternoon.

“It was hot, really hot,” Manuel said. “But I think everyone involved worked together wonderfully and managed to stop the gas from making it to the creek.

“Another blessing was the Salvation Army, who arrived on the scene with plenty of ice water and Gatorade for the workers,” Manuel said.

“They also had sandwiches, which was nice, since most of the crews were out there without any way to eat lunch.”

In addition to Ada firefighters, emergency workers respondedfrom the Allen and Lovelady fire departments, Allen Police Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse, Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Department, Pontotoc County Emergency Management and Pontotoc County District 1.

With as many as six firefighters on the scene, Manuel said Ada fire officials called in off-duty personnel to ensure that the two local stations were staffed in case of other emergencies.

OHP trooper Troy Jack investigated the crash and said Allen’s truck was carrying 8,500 gallons of fuel at the time of the crash and crews were able to salvage just over 300 gallons that had not leaked out after the crash.

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