Speed a likely factor as semi hauling soybean oil rolls off K-96 ramp, authorities say

A semi hauling a load of food-grade soybean oil rolled off of the K-96 on ramp onto eastbound U.S. 54 on Tuesday afternoon, leaving the driver with serious injuries, the Kansas Highway Patrol said.

Trooper Gary Warner said it appears that the driver – a Marshall, Okla., man – lost control when he proceeded down the ramp and around a curve too quickly. The semi rolled at least once and slid down an embankment at 2:20 p.m. The speed limit on the off ramp is 30 mph, he said. The semi’s speed at the time of the crash was unknown Tuesday afternoon.

The driver, identified as 71-year-old Glen E. Hough, was taken to a hospital for treatment, Warner said. Hough was in critical condition Tuesday evening, an operator at Wesley Medical Center said.

Warner said he did not know the nature of Hough’s injuries or his destination. The semi is affiliated with an Iowa trucking company, he said. No one else was injured, and no other vehicles were involved in the accident.

At the scene, a faint odor of the non-toxic oil lingered close to the mangled tanker. The roof of the cab lay on the ground beside it, and a coffee can, tools and trash were strewn about. Inspectors checked the belly of the tanker for mechanical defects, including the brakes. Warner said a crew would drain the tanker trailer before the wrecker “could set it upright” and hoist it out of the ditch.

“Vehicles, especially the ones that are loaded with liquid or material that might shift, it’s best that they adhere to that speed recommendation because when the liquid weight transfers it’s hard to keep the vehicle in the roadway if they are going too fast,” Warner said.

The ramp was closed to traffic for about two hours after the crash.