DBi Services I-75 Crew Assists with Oil Spill

On March 22, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida -a driver approaching the on-ramp to I-275, took the left turn too quickly, causing his tanker’s load to shift. The cab and tanker overturned, spilling around 3,600 gallons of fuel onto the roadway and grassy shoulder. All northbound and southbound lanes were shut down at the intersection of U.S. 41 and I-275 after the fuel tanker overturned.

DBi’s I-75 Superintendent, Virgil Wooten, and an ad-hoc crew responded quickly to assist the single Deputy that was first on the chaotic scene of this major fuel spill that occurred on a busy interstate connecting I-75 with the City of St Petersburg/Tampa.

Deputy George Schrenk was very appreciative of how quickly DBi’s crew went into action and was impressed with their expertise. Deputy Schrenk wrote the following letter to express his gratitude for the assistance the DBi Supervisor Virgil Wooten and his crew of Rohan Ward, Gerald Leaphart, Steven Dawkins, Derek Veldhouse, Thomas Frazier and Daniel Milliken.

Deputy Schrenk's Letter:
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to express my gratefulness towards these employees and recognize their work.

To provide you with some background, I was dispatched to the intersection of I-275/US41 in Palmetto, FL on March 22, 2020 in reference to an overturned tanker. The tanker was carrying gasoline which had leaked a great distance from the crash site and a large precautionary zone had to be established to prevent disaster should the fuel catch on fire. Upon my arrival, the scene was chaotic to say the least and I was responsible for coming up with a strategy to deal with the southbound traffic on I-275. The task was immense and, due to the circumstances, I was working alone.

My only assistance showed up in a large, white DBI truck and I was greatly appreciative. The hot/sunny weather, combined with dealing with ignorant motorists, was starting to take its toll but I received a second burst of energy when I saw the driver, Virgil Wooten, enthusiastically directing traffic and laying out cones in the direction I was trying to get them to go. His expertise quickly became evident as we developed a master “plan of attack” towards managing the never-ending traffic dilemma we had been given. Virgil called for reinforcements and strategically positioned them in a manner that was timely and effective. Thomas (didn’t catch his last name) was the next DBI employee on scene and he provided us with some much needed material support.

Virgil and Thomas exemplify what hard work, determination, and professionalism mean. Working with your employees during this unfortunate event was a real pleasure and I look forward to working with them in the future.

Thank you so much for your time.

Very Respectfully,

Dep. George Schrenk
Enforcement/Patrol/Squad 2 North
Manatee County Sheriff's Office
-end

Thankfully, the driver suffered minor injuries and the Department of Environmental Protection and South Manatee County Hazmat Fire Department responded to the scene to properly remove the fuel that was lost.