Metro-East News

Police ticket driver of truck that scattered propane tanks on I-255

AP file photo

The driver of a truck that stopped traffic on Interstate 255 when it dropped propane tanks on the highway has been cited by Illinois State Police.

Gerbin Bennett, 51, of Indiana, was cited for using unsafe equipment on a public road.

State Police spokesman Calvin Dye Jr. said faulty straps used to hold the 500-gallon tanks on the back of a flatbed truck snapped, which caused them to tumble onto the southbound lanes of the highway near Camp Jackson Road in Cahokia.

“There was initially concern that the tanks were full and that they could explode,” Dye said. “But testing revealed they only contained trace amounts of propane, too little to be flammable.”

Before the tanks were determined to be empty, Cahokia Police said their dispatchers received several calls from area residents who said they thought they smelled propane.

Southbound lanes of the interstate were closed for more than an hour after three tanks fell off the truck, according to police. One ended up in the middle of the road, one bounced into the median and the other ended up in the ditch at the side of the highway.

No one was injured in the accident.

After the tanks were deemed safe to handle, a crane on the truck from which they fell was used to hoist them back onto the flatbed, Dye said.

The truck Bennett was driving belongs to BLT Tanks LLC of Kingfisher, Okla.

The tanks were reported to be in the roadway shortly after 10 p.m. At about 11:30 p.m. the road was reopened to traffic.