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Accident Report Detail

Commercial Vehicle Overturn Resulting in Cargo Tank Rupture, Propane Release, and Fire

Executive Summary

​On Friday, March 11, 2016, about 6:20 a.m., a 2011 Peterbilt truck-tractor in combination with a 1962 North Texas Tank Company, specification MC330, 10,500-gallon cargo tank semitrailer loaded with noncorrosive liquefied petroleum gas, operated by River City Propane, was traveling northbound on US Highway 431, a two-lane undivided highway, near Stroud, Alabama. As it entered a right curve near the intersection of County Route 256, it began to encroach on the southbound lane, which was occupied by a 2004 Pontiac sport utility vehicle. The driver of the Pontiac reported that he observed the driver of the Peterbilt make a hard right turn. The cargo tank semitrailer then separated from its truck-tractor, traveled westward into a ditch, and struck a rock. The impact with the rock breached the front head of the cargo tank; as the cargo began to vent, the cargo tank’s entire head became separated, releasing the tank’s contents, which caught fire, and a deflagration occurred.† The cargo tank semitrailer continued to travel westward through about 300 yards of forested area before coming to rest.

The truck-tractor came to rest on the eastern ditch/embankment area and was destroyed. The Peterbilt driver was severely injured as a result of the crash and fire.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Stroud, Alabama, crash was the combination vehicle driver’s overcorrection while traveling on a curve, after he had encroached into the opposing lane of traffic. Contributing to the crash was the driver’s excessive speed. Contributing to the severity of the crash outcome was the rupture of the tank and subsequent release and ignition of propane.

Accident Location: Stroud , AL USA  
Accident Date: 3/11/2016
Accident ID: HAR1801SUM

Date Adopted: 1/23/2018
NTSB Number: HAR1801SUM
NTIS Number: PB2018-100361

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