Crime

Millstadt police track down tow truck connected to spill

A still image from a surveillance video involving the hazmat spill in Millstadt; police believe the suspect’s truck is shown at the top.
A still image from a surveillance video involving the hazmat spill in Millstadt; police believe the suspect’s truck is shown at the top. Provided

Millstadt Police said they’ve figured out who was driving the tow truck involved in a large fuel spill on M&O Road.

Now they’re trying to resolve a dispute about who is responsible for paying for the cleanup.

“We’re still working on that, and there is some confusion,” Millstadt Police Chief Ed Wilkerson said. “The tow truck driver said he’s the one who came to pick up the truck, but the fuel spilled from it, not his vehicle.”

The fuel was determined to be kerosene. The owner of the truck being towed told police his vehicle didn’t have any kerosene on it, so the mess couldn’t have come from his vehicle.

The tow truck, according to police, belongs to Vanguard Trucking of St. Louis. The owner of the other vehicle, whose identity was not released by police, hired the tow company to take his vehicle to an auction on St. Charles Rock Road.

Wilkerson said the spill happened the afternoon of May 28. It took about five hours to clean up the mess as St. Clair County’s Hazardous Materials Response team used pads to soak up the spilled material.

Police don’t have plans to seek criminal charges for the spill.

“We don’t want to charge anybody,” Wilkerson said. “That’s not what we’re after.”

He said agencies that used resources to clean up the mess just want to be reimbursed.

St. Clair County, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Millstadt police, fire and street departments are tallying up a total cost for materials used to clean up the mess and the price of labor.

“I don’t know what the total is going to be,” Wilkerson said. “It’s certainly going to be in the thousands. Will it reach $10,000? Maybe.”

Vanguard general manager Mitch Casey said Thursday that company leaders are working closely with police to try to work out the situation. But he said he wasn’t prepared to comment about the incident.

Wilkerson said police were able to track down the tow truck after the police department received several tips following the News-Democrat’s posting of surveillance video from the Circle K convenience store. The video showed the tow truck pulling the white utility truck.

Most of the material spilled onto M&O Road. But it left a trail through the four-way stop in the center of Millstadt that passes the Circle K.

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