Johnston County

Driver who died when tanker flipped into church parking lot identified

Fuel from a crashed tanker on Cleveland Road is pumped out Monday afternoon before the scene is cleaned up.
Fuel from a crashed tanker on Cleveland Road is pumped out Monday afternoon before the scene is cleaned up. jdjackson@newsobserver.com

A fuel tanker flipped and caught fire Monday morning on Cleveland Road between Clayton and Smithfield in Johnston County.

The N.C. Highway Patrol said the driver, Joseph Steven D’Ascoli, 38, of Broadway, has died.

At about 10 a.m. on Monday the Highway Patrol responded to a single-vehicle collision. A small fuel tanker carrying 5,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel was traveling east on Cleveland Road when it ran off the road to the right. The fuel tanker hit a culvert in a ditch and overturned.

The fuel tanker flipped and came to a stop in the parking lot of Elizabeth United Methodist Church, 4269 Cleveland Road. The truck’s cab caught fire but the tanker did not. Fire crews from Wilson’s Mills, Smithfield and Clayton put out the blaze. The load of fuel was transferred to an empty tanker and the wreckage hauled off late Monday afternoon.

A portion of Cleveland Road will remain closed while the gasoline spill is being cleaned up, Trooper William J. Henning said in an email on Monday. N.C. Department of Transportation crews set up detours, Henning said.

The tanker fuel truck is owned by Gaines Oil Company of Goldston in Chatham County.

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