Good Samaritan Saves Crashed Oil Tanker Driver In White Out

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Kent Ashton's overturned oil tanker off of U.S. Highway 40 in Utah

Screenshot: KSL-TV

An oil tanker driver is lucky to be alive after a terrifying crash on U.S. Highway 40 in Wasatch County, Utah last week. Kent Ashton was driving his truck slowly in white-out blizzard conditions when another car slid across the roadway toward him. Ashton left the road attempting to avoid a collision, KSL-TV reports. The tanker overturned and went off an embankment. He likely wouldn’t have survived if Tyler Mahoney, another driver on the road, didn’t see his crashed oil tanker.

Visibility was less than 15 feet because of the winter storm, and many drivers just slid off the road. Mahoney had pulled over into a parking lot on the highway because of how poor the conditions. That’s when he spotted that crashed tanker. Mahoney explained to the TV station:

“I was ahead of my dad, who I was waiting for. You drive down into it maybe 20 yards and you can see a gulley that leads to the lake and down in that gulley was a huge tanker, a double-trailer tanker, with hazards flashing, tipped over on its side — which had obviously happened within the last little bit in the storm.”

Mahoney waded through the snow to the wreckage. He discovered Ashton conscious and standing inside the overturned cab with his head sticking out of the driver-side window. He was injured in the crash and Mahoney described Ashton as being covered in crude oil. The tanker driver later explained that the tank burst during roll and filled the cab with oil, singeing his legs.

Mahoney kicked out enough of the windshield to get Ashton out of the truck, and his father arrived with a snowmobile which they used to get the injured driver back up to the highway. The terrible road conditions also meant it took two hours and multiple ambulances for Ashton to reach a hospital.

Oil tanker crashes are rarely ever small incidents. Last summer, a tanker crashed and burst into flames beneath a portion of I-95 in Philadelphia. The driver was killed and the blaze’s intensity caused the overpass to collapse.