Crews report progress at scene of fatal tanker crash

A sound wall along I-5 was damaged in a tanker truck explosion last November. - Courtesy of WSDOT
A sound wall along I-5 was damaged in a tanker truck explosion last November.
— image credit: Courtesy of WSDOT

Mirror staff reports:

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) reports that "some progress" is being made to the damaged sound wall along I-5 that was caught up in a tanker truck explosion last November.

According to WSDOT, "a cleanup crew has been busy excavating hundreds of cubic yards of soil contaminated by spilled aviation fuel."

WSDOT also reports that agency personnel are designing the replacement panels for the sound wall, and that the agency is working with the tanker company's insurance to help cover the costs of the cleanup and repair.

The rebuild contract for the project is expected to be sent out sometime in the future, although WSDOT was unable to indicate a specific timeframe.

The initial incident occurred Nov. 4, when a Renton man's alleged under-the-influence driving set off a chain reaction resulting in the tanker truck crashing and bursting into flames.

The truck's driver, Joseph E. Bartkowski of Sumner, was killed in the crash, while three others suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The Renton man was arrested in November and released from jail after posting a $100,000 bond. He faced possible charges of vehicular homicide. According to the King County Prosecutor's Office, no decision has been reached on charges, and the investigation is ongoing.

Local emergency response crews worked throughout the night and into the morning, trying to get the volatile aviation fuel flames under control. A specialized truck was brought in from the Port of Seattle to douse the flames with firefighting foam.

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