No injuries when Hope tanker overturns

HOPE — Hope Fire Department firefighters escaped injury when one of their tankers rolled on its side when returning from an accident scene.

The 1996 Freightliner was returning from a routine call to a property-damage accident at 9:32 p.m. Tuesday on County Road 800N, just east of State Road 9, according to Hope Fire Chief Bruce Neal.

As firefighter Adam Mathis drove the eastbound truck in the dark, accompanied by his brother, Eric Mathis, the rear tires slid off the berm of the narrow county road, Neal said.

Although the truck was not moving fast, the driver was unable to bring the large vehicle to a stop, and the tanker continued about 240 feet before finally rolling over on the driver’s side, the fire chief said.

While neither brother was injured, Neal described damage to the tanker as substantial. The fire department is obtaining damage estimates.

Since the truck had just passed an extremely deep ditch, the accident could have resulted in dire consequences, Neal said.

There have been a number of recorded accidents where thousands of gallons of water in tankers have gushed out and drowned firefighters, the fire chief said.

“If the truck would have fallen into that deep ditch, who knows what would have happened,” Neal said. “We can always replace equipment, but you can’t replace human life.”

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.