Propane Tanker Flips On Highway

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Traffic on Highway 260 was blocked briefly Monday after a 9,000-gallon propane tanker overturned and skidded 300 feet into an embankment between Star Valley and Preacher Canyon.

The driver, 44-year-old Joseph Libbey of Queen Creek, was driving west when he failed to negotiate a curve, Department of Public Safety Officer Bernadette Koren said. Libbey's truck drifted onto the shoulder of the road, and when he steered the rig back onto the pavement, the trailer overturned while the truck remained on its wheels.

The truck dragged the propane tank across the center line and back again before flipping on its side and skidding to a halt against an embankment on the shoulder of the highway.

DPS officers closed the highway temporarily until they determined that the tank's safety devices had activated and prevented a leak. One lane of traffic was then reopened.

Koren, who was one of the first officers on the scene, said the driver reported that he heard something break or pop just before he lost control.

Libbey, who is employed by Fountain Hills LP Gas, drives the route on a weekly basis, Koren said. He was taken to Payson Regional Medical Center as a precautionary measure.

Diamond Star Fire Department Captain John Wisner said his crew planned to transfer the liquid propane to another truck before righting the tanker and removing it from the side of the highway.

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