SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – The Highway Patrol confirmed one person is dead after a tanker truck overturned Monday morning in Johnston County and caught fire.
The tanker ran off the road to the right, went into a culvert and flipped. The fuel powering the truck caught fire resulting in the gas/diesel mix being hauled catching fire.
Joseph Steven D’Ascoli, 38, of Broadway was driving the truck during the incident and died at the scene, official said.
That culvert D’Ascoli struck was dug up this week and was deeper than usual.
It took multiple fire agencies 45 minutes to put the fire out.
“It was a little harder to put out than a normal, straight fire,” said First Sgt. Derek Mobley with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Mark Norman, who lives near the crash, attempted to help as the trucker burned.
“I went running up trying to get to the truck to see if there was something I could do to help the guy get out of it since it was on fire, Normal said. “My neighbor, who I had saw running earlier, turned around and told me to get back, he said, ‘It’s a tanker. Get back!’ The flames just got bigger and bigger. So, there was nothing any of us could do, except just watch.”
Norman said the truck’s cab was fully engulfed in flames when he got on scene.
“I was just hoping that we could get the guy out,” Norman said.
D’Ascoli was operating a truck from Gaines Oil Company of Goldston.
Cleveland Road has been closed since the incident and is expected to remain closed until 8:30 p.m.