A driver is dead after a tanker trailer carrying gasoline rolled over on Route 91 north in Whately Wednesday afternoon.
According to State Police, the deadly rollover accident at the 33.4-mile marker was reported a little after 12 p.m. Wednesday. Both I-91 North and South in Whately were closed due to the crash.
I-91 southbound in Whately reopened a little after 10:20 p.m. Wednesday.
I-91 was closed on both sides between Deerfield and Greenfield, causing big backups along the detour on Route 5.
“At least a half hour so far, and probably more,” said Susan Eagle. “I’m just so glad to find the gas station because I was going to run out of gas and that was really scary.”
The driver was the sole occupant in the vehicle and his identity has not been released.
Authorities say the 2018 Freightliner tractor pulling a tanker trailer with gasoline was traveling on Route 91 northbound when the driver lost control of the vehicle, for unknown reasons, causing it to travel off the right side of the road and roll over.
The area of the rollover crash had been shut down to one lane of travel for construction earlier in the day for several miles when the crash happened.
#MAtraffic #RT91 in #Whately is shut down and detoured both north and south. TT tanker crash. Est 5-6 hrs to off load cargo and clean up. Will affect evening commute seek Alt routes— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) June 20, 2018
According to the Deerfield Police Department, Whately Elementary School was evacuated to Frontier Regional School as a precaution.
“I was actually glad to hear that they did that, just for safety reasons,” said Lynn Langevin. “You don’t want to be on there when there’s a fuel truck rolled over. I thought it was construction at first, and then I got off the exit and saw that it was still going. I think it added about an hour and 40 minutes.”
State Police were assisted by Whately Fire and EMS, Regional Hazmat, Westover Fire, MEMA, D.E.P., MassDOT and the Medical Examiner’s office.
Orange Fire Department also assisted with their foam trailer.
The accident is being investigated by the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, Crime Scene Services Section, the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section, the MSP Airwing, Troop B CAT team, and Troopers assigned to the Hampshire County District Attorney’s Office.
22News will bring you updates as more details become available.