NORTHBRIDGE (CBS) – Investigators say the driver of a tanker truck was distracted and reaching for a cup of coffee when he crashed into two cars and then into a retaining wall.
Luckily, he walked away from the crash with minor injuries.
The Cape Cod Gas truck slammed into the parked cars on Linwood Avenue around 5:30 a.m., and then rolled down an embankment and nearly missed a home.
Rick Masnyk told WBZ-TV he heard a thunderous crash outside of his home. When he looked outside one car had been dragged from the front of a neighbor’s house several yards down the street. No one was in the cars.
“I heard what I’d consider to be the loudest clap of thunder I’ve heard in my life, followed by a few flashes of light,” Masnyk said.
He said the truck driver limped and rubbed his head after getting out of his rig. He was taken away in an ambulance.
Carol Marin said the truck driver should have been more careful.
“He was hauling gas though,” she said. “They had to pump that out. It took about 2 to 3 hours to pump that out before they could even move the truck. If it had happened any later than 5 o’clock, it would have been bad.”
Homes in the neighborhood were evacuated as a precaution. A hazardous materials team was cleaning up the mess and a tow truck was called in to remove the tanker.
“The state police truck team was called in to help us with the investigation. Due to the fact that the tractor trailer was carrying 10,000 gallons of gasoline,” said Northbridge Police Lt. Timothy Labrie.
According to National Gird, about 137 customers were without power for four hours because the truck struck a power pole. Crews had to wait for the truck’s cargo to be drained as a safety precaution before they could assess the situation.
Thomas Crothers of nearby Crothers Tire Co. said his business was among customers who lost power. He said he lost a day’s worth of work.
“Everything needs power, all my equipment. We’ve been shut down… I have one phone line that’s working, that’s about it,” he said.