Almost a tragedy

The driver of a tractor-trailer rig hauling brine from a hydraulic fracturing operation was hospitalized Monday morning after his truck rolled over a guardrail, down a steep embankment and struck a house on Bear Run Road north of Newport.

Greg Butler, 23, of Graysville was traveling south on Bear Run Road when the accident occurred around 9:45 a.m. He was listed in stable condition Monday night at Marietta Memorial Hospital.

The home struck by the truck at 105 Bear Run Road belongs to Pat and Patty Garrett. They were not hurt.

“We were in bed at the time and it woke us up,” Patty said. “We heard an awful crunching, crackling, grinding noise. My husband thought a rock had fallen from above the road, then the whole house shook.”

The Garretts looked out their bedroom window and saw the wheels under the truck’s cab nearly touching the window. The truck was lying on its side for the entire length of the back side of the house.

“I said we have to make sure (the driver) is OK,” Patty, a nurse, added. “We ran outside and he was lying in the yard, in pain and spitting up some blood. He was scared and told us he was sorry. I’m just glad he was not badly injured, that’s really all that matters.”

She said the impact did relatively little damage to the inside of the house, noting a few pictures were knocked off the wall in the living room area. But the back wall of the house suffered very light damage.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeffrey Welch said Butler was transported to Marietta Memorial Hospital by a unit from the Little Muskingum Volunteer Fire Department. He said Butler was admitted to the hospital.

Mary Lou Bennett, mother of Pat Garrett, said the location of her son’s home, at the base of the steep embankment along Bear Run Road, has always been a concern for her.

“I guess it’s just a mother’s instinct, but I’ve often thought about something like this happening there,” she said. “They’re very lucky.”

The truck’s tank trailer was reportedly full of brine from an oil and gas well operated by HG Energy, according to Bob Gerst, owner of Oil Haulers LLC in Reno that has been Butler’s employer for approximately a year.

Gerst said the trucks make round trips of about 60 to 70 miles between the oil and gas well and an injection well on County 9 Road.

Patty Garrett said some water had leaked out of a portion of the truck’s brine tank.

“It ran under and around the house,” she said. “They brought in two other trucks to offload whatever water was left in the tank.”

Garrett said there is no major stream nearby, just a small drainage area below the house.

She added that the home’s water source is a sealed concrete cistern that’s located uphill from the house and the area where the wreck occurred.

In addition to the highway patrol and units from the Little Muskingum and Newport volunteer fire companies, representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Department of Natural Resources were notified of the accident, which was still under investigation Sunday afternoon.

Welch said Butler would be cited for failure to control the vehicle.