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Drilling Truck Crash Kills One; Pipeline Construction Disgorges Mud into Creek


By D.C. Koviack

A truck carrying unspecified materials used in the gas drilling process crashed into another vehicle last Friday evening about 6:40 p.m. and killed the driver of the second vehicle.

John Jones, III, Brackney, 57, was in his Subaru at the intersection of Laurel Lake Road and Route 29 in Liberty Township, Susquehanna County, when the truck slammed into his car and killed him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck, James Hoffpauir, Montgomery, Texas, and a 17-year-old passenger in the Subaru suffered moderate injuries.

The truck is owned by Arizona-based Southeast Directional Drilling LLC; as such it would have most likely been carrying lubricating fluid or mineral oil. Early news reports about the crash stated that DEP had been called to the scene; later reports noted that the substance the truck had been carrying was not harmful. There were no reports of any type of spill or leak from the truck.

DEP Community Relations Coordinator Dan Spadoni was not available for comment to the Rocket-Courier.

Southeast Directional Drilling has stated in a press release that it is conducting its own investigation into the cause of the accident.

On Monday, reports began to surface about an incident sometime over the weekend in Silver Lake Township, Susquehanna County. According to residents nearby, there was an accident involving the pipeline construction drilling being done in that area by Rockford Drilling. Drilling mud and bentonite allegedly blew out of a borehole and into Laurel Lake Creek, above Salt Springs State Park. DEP is said to have been called to the scene to address cleanup, but there was no information available about how much mud had been deposited in the creek or on any ongoing detrimental effects.

DEP was also not available for comment on this incident. The pipeline is the large transmission line which will go from Friendsville, PA to Windsor, NY, and over which there has been considerable controversy.

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