Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Diesel fuel tanker rolls

A tanker carrying diesel fuel fell over near the train tracks across Mabry Drive from Cook’s Restaurant Saturday afternoon. The driver was not injured. (Staff photo: Mike Linn)

A tanker truck filled with 7,000 gallons of diesel fuel overturned about 3 p.m. Saturday on a gravel access road alongside the railroad tracks across from Cook’s Restaurant and Truck Stop on Mabry Drive.

The driver was able to crawl out from the truck’s cab unscathed, said Bill Baca, public education director for the Clovis Fire Department.

The tanker came to a rest upside down in a field adjacent to the access road.

Baca said the possibility of an explosion was minimal even though there was a slow leak from the tanker.

“The railroad (hazardous materials) team will pump the gas out of the tanker,” Baca said. “There is no immediate danger. The only thing we are concerned about right now is the possibility of ground contamination.”

Baca was referring to the possible contamination of a nearby corn field.

The driver of the vehicle is an employee of Quality Rail Service of Golden, Colo., a company doing contract work for Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway.

Officials would not release the driver’s name, and the driver told officials he didn’t want to comment to the media, Baca said.

Officer Ken Olson of the New Mexico State Police was one of the first responders to the accident.

“The driver refuels the trains for the railroad,” Olson said. “The driver is all right. He’s lucky.”