A Mount Jackson man driving a tractor-trailer with a tanker filled with gasoline died in a fiery crash Thursday night on Interstate 81 near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
The victim, William Golladay, 48, was driving a truck for Holtzman Oil Corp. when he lost control and the truck flipped onto its left side.
Pennsylvania State Police said in a written statement that witnesses reported several explosions and a fire as the truck crashed.
“The driver was consumed in the intense fire,” the statement said.
State police are investigating what role, if any, a two-axle trailer and a vehicle towing it played in the crash.
Authorities say Golladay was headed southbound on I-81 near mile marker 19 when a trailer came loose from behind a vehicle traveling in the northbound lane. The trailer crossed over into the southbound lane. State police said they “cannot say for certain” that the trailer caused the crash, and their crash investigation team is still working to confirm the exact cause.
William Holtzman, president and owner of Holtzman Oil, praised Golladay, who had been driving a truck for the company for about 1½ years.
“He was a great person,” Holtzman said. “Everybody liked him, and we are all devastated by the loss.”
Holtzman said a member of the Pennsylvania State Police told him that the trailer that crossed the median lodged under the truck between the front axle and drive axle.
“He tried to avoid the trailer and when he did that, he hit the guard rail and probably when he struck the guardrail, it caused whatever happened to make it explode,” Holtzman said.
Holtzman added that the Mack truck had “every safety feature you could have but that doesn’t protect you from a trailer coming across the road and hitting you.”
Holtzman said state police told him that the driver of the vehicle towing the truck drove away from the scene and that authorities are still trying to find the driver.
Holtzman said electronic equipment linking company offices to the truck showed a lost connection at 5:57 p.m. when the crash occurred.
Golladay was the company’s first driver to die on the road in 30 years, Holtzman said.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org.