State Police Investigate Tanker Crash on Route 128 in Needham
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Steven Cahill indicates that 59-year-old Kevin Power of Watertown was operating a 2001 Peterbilt tractor hauling a tanker-trailer containing 11,500 gallons of gasoline on Route 128 South when he swerved to the right in an attempt to avoid striking a large piece of metal road debris. This evasive maneuver caused Power to lose control of his vehicle and strike the guardrail on the right side of the road. After striking the guardrail, the vehicle rolled onto its side and continued to slide along the guardrail until coming to final rest across the breakdown, right and middle lanes of Route 128 South. Upon striking the guardrail and overturning, the tanker's 11,500 gallons of gasoline ignited and the vehicle became fully engulfed in flames. Power was able to free himself from his vehicle, and was transported by ambulance to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston with minor injuries.
This crash remains under investigation with the assistance of the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section. The Needham Fire Department, Needham Police Department, Newton Police Department, Wellesley Police Department, Dedham Police Department, Environmental Protection Agency and MassHighway assisted troopers on scene.
Due to the intense fire, fire fighting activity, crash investigation and vehicle removal, Route 128 South was completely closed between Route 9 (exit 20) and Great Plain Avenue (exit 18) for over 3 hours. Additionally, Route 128 North was completely closed between Great Plain Avenue (exit 18) and Highland Avenue (exit 19) for approximately 1½ hours.
No further information is available at this time. Please do not call the barracks directly.