Road closed during cleanup

Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
A cleaning crew worked to contain 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel after a tanker truck overturned Tuesday on Edgefield Road in North Augusta.

NORTH AUGUSTA --- An overturned tanker truck dumped nearly 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel onto Palmetto Parkway on Tuesday morning.

A large portion of Edgefield Road was closed for about three hours as crews worked to clean up the spill.

The wreck occurred shortly before 8 a.m., when a man driving a Havird Oil Co. truck flipped the vehicle onto its right side while turning onto Palmetto Parkway from Edgefield Road, according to North Augusta Public Safety Lt. Tim Pearson.

The driver, Daniel Griffin, 51, of Lexington, S.C., suffered only minor injuries; he was taken to Aiken Regional Medical Centers and later released.

Authorities are still investigating what caused the truck to overturn.

The driver told police that he had just topped off his truck with 7,500 gallons of diesel and that the wreck was caused by a driver in a "little white car" who pulled in front of the truck, Pearson said.

"That part is under investigation," he said.

Clark Havird, of Havird Oil Co., seemed to confirm his driver's account of the accident in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon.

"While still under investigation, it appears that another vehicle apparently pulled out in front of our truck, causing our driver to swerve in an evasive manner to avoid a collision," Havird said in the release. "As a result, the transport tank vehicle overturned. We are very thankful that there were no serious injuries as a result of this accident. ..."

Adam Myrick, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, said some of the fuel made its way into storm drains, which were diked to prevent further spread.

The cleanup also might involve removal of some contaminated soil, Myrick said. Havird added that his company is working with local and state officials to clean the area.

Staff Writer Rob Pavey contributed to this article.