Trucker ticketed after crash closes highway
VAIL – The driver of the tanker truck that rolled over on I-70 on Vail Pass Thursday, causing an 18-hour closure of the westbound lanes, has been ticketed for careless driving. Kenny Darryl Smith, 38, of Houston, Texas, was hauling a full load of ethanol from Pasadena, Texas, to Salt Lake City when his rig ran off the right side of the interstate while he was rounding a curve. The contents of the tanker did not spill.The accident happened just before 1 p.m. Thursday at mile marker 181, approximately one mile east of the East Vail interchange. Smith and a passenger were transported to Vail Valley Medical Center and were treated and released.During the cleanup, crews used an empty fuel tanker to transfer the ethanol from the wrecked tanker. That tanker had to be dispatched from Utah. Ethanol, or alcohol ether sulfate, is a flammable liquid used as a gasoline additive. Westbound motorists were re-routed at Copper Mountain over Highway 91 and Highway 24 through Leadville and Minturn during the overnight closure. The westbound lanes were reopened at approximately 7 a.m. Friday. Eastbound traffic was interrupted for several hours immediately following the incident.