A tanker truck with three Vanleer volunteer firefighters overturned and wrecked on Highway 49 West while traveling to a lightning strike-caused house fire early Saturday morning — and alcohol was involved, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol report.
The volunteer firefighters in the tanker truck were David Boutcher, 36, of Vanleer; Michael Bunn, 28, of Cumberland Furnace; and Jessica Leege, 24, of Vanleer.
The THP report states that Boutcher, the driver, and Leege had been drinking alcohol.
The 2008 Kenworth T-370 tanker was traveling west on Highway 49 when it “failed to negotiate a curve to the right and ran off the road on the left side,” according to the THP report.
The truck overturned and came to a final rest in the ditch.
Boutcher told the THP trooper that the air brakes “had not built up enough air and did not work at the time of the crash,” the report states.
Charges are pending, according to the THP.
While the tanker was traveling to the fire scene, a Vanleer Volunteer Fire Department crew was already fighting the fire, said Vanleer Fire Chief Scotty Ingham.
“The house unfortunately was a total loss,” said Ingham about the home located on Highway 49 West near Jarman’s Market.
Also providing mutual aid were other local volunteer organizations Cumberland Furnace and Sylvia-Yellow Creek fire departments and Dickson County Fire and Rescue, Ingham said.
“This county has a great relationship when it comes to the volunteer departments. Everyone works together so well together,” Ingham said.
The chief said the tanker truck accident is still under investigation, adding “there is not a whole lot I can say on it.”
He said the three crew members “are going to be fine.”
“They are going to make a full recovery.” Ingham said. “It’s one of those things we never expect to happen to us.”
He said the people living inside the burned home were helped by the Red Cross.
Ingham believes the truck will be replaced, noting that the department is insured.
Leege and Boutcher are suspended from the volunteer fire department pending further investigation.