Fiery Collision On I-70 When Tanker Trunk Filled Gasoline Collides With MoDOT Truck in Missouri

A fiery Saint Charles County Missouri crash between a gas tanker and a Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) truck blocked westbound I-70 traffic at 11:05am on April 1, 2011. The tanker driver has been issued a summons for charges.

Brian M. Heintzelman, 39, of Winfield, Missouri was operating a 2009 International Work Star truck while providing traffic control for a road repair crew on westbound I-70, west of MO-94. A gas tanker driven by Mark W. Schutzback, 42, of Nokomis, Illinois slammed into the MoDOT truck. The gas tanker involved in this Missouri truck accident was a 2001 Western Star Tractor Trailer.

According to local reports, the Missouri trucking accident caused the cab of the gasoline tanker to catch fire. Schutzback, the tractor trailer driver narrowly avoided injury by escaping the vehicle. He was later issued summons for careless and impudent driving. Heintzelman suffered minor injuries as a result of the crash. He was transported to St. Joseph Health Center by the St. Charles County Ambulance. The I-70 completely reopened hours later, after 4:30pm. Crews spent hours taking fuel off of the gas tanker. The collision caused an extensive backup in traffic.

The accident occurred just before National Workzone Awareness Week, established by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. This year’s National Workzone Awareness Week is April 4-8, 2011. The theme is “Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For Everyone.” According to the FHA, 85% of work zone fatalities are drivers and their passengers. Missouri highway safety in workers is important for the safety of drivers as well as workers. In 2009, there were 667 highway work zone fatalities. More than 40,000 Americans were injured.

In order to decrease the number of Missouri trucking accidents in highway work zones, Missouri passed legislation enhancing sanctions for traffic violations in work zones. In Missouri, both speeding and passing traffic violations have enhanced punishments in work zones. According to Missouri statute §304.582, $250 is added onto the original fine for the first offense. For example, a speeding violation that would normally result in a $50 fine is enhanced to a $300 fine in a work zone. $300 is added onto the original fine for subsequent offenses. Driving prudently and obeying traffic statutes is the best combination for preventing Missouri trucking accident injuries in work zones.

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