An tractor-trailer accident involving a tanker full of liquid propane left Highway 146 and Highway 225 near La Porte, Texas, closed to traffic for over 24 hours. Although the incident has been safely cleared by local and state authorities, it brings attention to the fact that 18 wheeler accidents can be devastating, especially when the trucks involved are carrying toxic chemicals, volatile substances or flammable materials. Propane Tanker Rolls Into Ditch On Tuesday, June 18, 2013, a big rig went off the road as it was on the ramp from Highway 146 South to Highway 225 West. When the truck veered off the road, it rolled into a ditch 25 feet below. Two men were in the truck at the time of the accident, and they were both rushed to a nearby hospital by a Life Flight helicopter shortly after emergency crews arrived on the scene. However, authorities determined that the tanker truck was leaking propane, which is highly flammable. In order to minimize any damage that could occur from a fire or explosion, both highways were closed to traffic. Many drivers waited for several hours in the stopped traffic before deciding to find an alternate route, but those near the front had to wait much longer before they could follow the others. Authorities diverted most of the traffic to Battleground Road and Spencer Highway. Several vehicles, including all of those parked at the DB Western chemical plant nearby, were not allowed to be moved until the following day. Highway Remains Closed During Cleanup Although Highway 146 was opened to traffic about two hours after the accident, Highway 225 remained closed for the public’s safety. The La Porte Office of Emergency Management issued a statement that the highway was expected to open sometime late at night before the Wednesday morning rush hour. However, morning came and went, but the highway remained closed. In addition, Highway 146 was also reclosed until the cleanup was finished. The primary objective of emergency crews during cleanup was to safely burn the propane left in the tank before it accidentally ignited. In order to safely dispose of the propane, a controlled burn was established. At some points, the flames from the burn reached far into the air, and its light could be seen from a distance. Driver Trainee Behind the Wheel One trucker who was onsite, Zerling Williams, was interviewed by several news agencies regarding the accident. He mentioned that all of the wheels had come off the truck, and seeing it had given him chills. Williams works for the same company, Safeway Transportation in Louisiana, as the two men who were in the overturned tractor-trailer. As new information became available, it was discovered that the man who was driving the truck was a new trainee, and the passenger was a veteran driver who was supposed to be training him. The names of the driver and passenger have not been announced, but both remain hospitalized as of Wednesday evening. One of the men is said to be in stable condition while the other is in critical condition. Call an Auto Accident Lawyer It is still unknown what, exactly, caused the accident, and authorities may never discover the truth. It is known, however, that new drivers are at an increased risk of being involved in accidents, and trainees need to be extra careful when hauling hazardous materials. Anyone who is involved in 18 wheeler accidents must understand that determining who is at fault can be a difficult task, and at the very least, a consultation should be scheduled with a personal injury attorney who has experience with truck accidents.