Safety & Compliance

Oily Sealant May Have Contributed to Fiery Accident

October 01, 1998

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Oct. 2 -- An oily road sealant may have contributed to a fiery, fatal truck accident in Reno, NV, last weekend, reports the Associated Press. City public works crews had been working on the road less than 24 hours before the truck, carrying 9,200 gallons of gasoline, jackknifed as the driver tried to avoid cars stopped in the intersection. The driver, who died, was called a hero by some witnesses.
“There was a layer of oil on the road,” Dennis Krause, Reno street maintenance manager, told the Reno Gazette-Journal. His department was running tests to determine if it contributed to the accident.
The intersection where the truck exploded wasn't reopened to traffic until Monday morning.
The driver, Dave Cermak, 55, Sparks, was killed. Four nearby vehicles were destroyed by flames, but all eight occupants escaped serious injury.
The same kind of oily buildup has been blamed as a contributing factor in other accidents in the region in recent years. State transportation officials ripped up a $50,000 layer of sealant last summer on U.S. Highway 50 near Lake Tahoe's Spooner Summit after three accidents occurred there over a three-week stretch.
Cermak's partner, Paul Krebs, said Cermak had been driving for 30 years and recently received a driving safety award. “He took evasive action to protect them. That's the kind of person Dave was,” Krebs told the AP.

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