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Dec-28-2008 19:36printcomments

Gasoline Truck Driver Dies in Fiery Crash Near Wilsonville (PHOTOS)

Driver dies in commercial truck crash and fire on Interstate 5 near Wilsonville‏.

Fatal crash near Wilsonville, Oregon 12-28-08
Photos of crash scene: Oregon State Police

(WILSONVILLE, Ore.) - Police responded to an explosion near Interstate 5 in the south Wilsonville area early this morning at 2:45 AM, involving a fuel laden semi truck. They say the driver, 56-year old William Neil Adams of Scappoose, Oregon, died in the crash and ensuing fire.

Fire personnel from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue responding to the scene found a commercial tanker truck and trailer fully engulfed in flames, about 70 feet west of the southbound lanes near trees.

A TVF&R spokesperson says crews pulled back from the blazing truck and fuel and let it burn until it was safe to approach and extinguish it. Some trees in the area reportedly caught fire.

Oregon State Police, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and ODOT personnel responded and closed freeway traffic in both directions with a detour established for approximately 5 1/2 hours.

After the fire was extinguished and the crash scene determined safe for troopers to begin investigating, the partial remains of the driver were found in the overturned truck.

With the assistance of Reinhard Petroleum LLC company representatives, the victim is tentatively identified as 56-year old William Neil Adams of Scappoose, Oregon.

Mr. Adams was reportedly operating a tanker truck pulling a tanker trailer loaded with approximately 10,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline.

The tankers were loaded at the Highway 30 fuel terminal in Linton and enroute to Salem.

Police say the preliminary investigation indicates that the commercial tanker truck and tanker trailer were southbound when, for an unknown reason, it drifted onto the right shoulder and onto an ice berm.

The truck and trailer continued approximately 70 feet off the freeway and overturned, catching fire.

The tanker truck and tanker trailer were extensively damaged by the fire.

OSP troopers from the Portland and Tualatin offices are continuing the investigation.

TVFR, ODOT, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, and Clackamas County Medical Examiner's Office assisted at the scene.

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Donald J Kaleta April 21, 2010 7:35 pm (Pacific time)

PLEASE GOOGLE "DEFORMABLE KINGPIN" that explains a simple to understand solution to forbid a tractor to follow into destruction during rollover events. The concept is the same as to why you have fuses or circuit breakers in electrical systems in your home, office or car -- a failsafe -- to prevent further destruction. This innovation is a simple modification of a component, the trailer’s coupling kingpin, whose design has been a standard for over 70 years, which can be made to deform and not allow an extremely stable tractor to follow to destruction when the trailer, that is the dominant controlling force, is in IMMINENT peril for rollover, that includes also blown over tractor trailers. The NHTSA and FMCSA continue to turn their backs and ignore their past funded research conclusions, as the trucking industry evolves greater unstable tractor trailers on our highways that have a primary attribute for increasing payload capacity. These catastrophes will continue to occur in thousands of accidents of this type each year as they have in the past, and continue to cause infrastructure damage that will harm and kill many hundreds of tractor occupants annually. These combination vehicles are incendiary bombs when carrying flammable material in tankers, and the flash point for these fires starts with the tractor’s involvement. A statement received from the FMCSA states “There are a variety of technologies for preventing rollover crashes and we believe motor carriers should have as much flexibility as possible in selecting technologies to prevent crashes.” Clearly the fox is allowed to guard the hen house!!! The harm, death and destruction will continue with combination vehicle rollover accidents. Donald J. Kaleta

Joe December 30, 2008 11:53 pm (Pacific time)

I understand his home burned down not long ago and there is a fund set up somewhere to help his family. However, I do not know with which bank the fund is set up. If someone could look into this I would appreciate it.

Donald J. Kaleta December 29, 2008 6:43 pm (Pacific time)


Editor: Donald, our program strips out code in comments in case it is spam.  Feel free to try again and you can also email the link to me and I will add it for you.  Send the email to, thanks.

Kappy December 29, 2008 1:12 pm (Pacific time)

I have to say I was heading home with my family around 1:30am and it was crazy I had to drive 50 all the way home(Salem from Portland). The rain was so heavy I could not see 100 ft away and the wind blew my car into the other lane more then a few times no body was driving 65+ you could see sheets of rain inside of heavy rain. It was horrible. I can see how someone could have had a hard time driving, I did. I am very sorry for the loss and wish his family only the best.

Dave December 29, 2008 9:34 am (Pacific time)

i worked with bill at his previous job. Bill was a nice man, always had a smile on his face. He was a dedicated Father. he will be missed.

Jim December 28, 2008 9:50 pm (Pacific time)

My wife, 8-year old, 6-year old, and 18-month old, and I were traveling NB in the center lane in our AWD Toyota Sienna when I noticed flames about 20 ft high and erupting rapidly off the SB shoulder. It was raining heavily and traffic was very light. Our vehicle was having no handling problems, and as I realized the fire was a vehicle, I swithched to the RH lane as we passed. The fully engulfed and inverted vehicle appeared to be a big rig, as we could see wheels were up. There were three people, maybe four people, approaching the fire from the south side on the right, SB shoulder, they were maybe 50-100 feet away. There was one vehicle stopped along the inside, fast-lane shoulder of the SB traffic. There was another vehicle stopped shy of the fire, with what appeared to be a flashing white light. It did not appear to be an emergency vehicle. We expected to see emergency vehicles as we traveled north, but saw none, which leads me to think the crash must have happened just prior to our noticing it. The lenght of NB freeway was straight for at least a mile and I watched the mirror for activity, and saw none. Because there were so few vehicles stopped, our shared thoughts are that the fire must have erupted very quickly, and that the situation was very bad for any occupants.

Editor: Thanks Jim for taking the time to share this perspective.  We're sorry for the loss of this man and we're glad it was not worse.

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