A hitchhiker sustained minor injuries Tuesday when an oil tanker truck and trailer overturned on a Highway 101 on-ramp near Orcutt and leaked several gallons of oil, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
California Highway Patrol officers, who were already on scene, called county firefighters to assist in the single-vehicle accident about 10:20 a.m., after discovering a tanker truck and trailer owned by Pan Pacific Petroleum had partially overturned on the southbound Highway 101 on-ramp at Clark Avenue, spokesman Mike Eliason said.
The cab and front trailer remained upright, but the second tanker had fallen on its side, causing a “minor leak” of about 20 gallons of crude oil, he said.
Just by “happenstance,” Eliason said, a hitchhiker who had been standing near the on-ramp was struck by a part of the trailer.
The hitchhiker, who was not identified, was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center mostly as a precaution, he said.
Eliason said county hazmat crews were called to the scene, although oil did not reach any storm drains.
A truck from the oil company, which was initially misidentified, was en route to vacuum up the spilled oil, and was sending special equipment to help push the trailer upright after crews had trouble, he added.
Clark Avenue was not affected by the accident, although the southbound on-ramp at Clark Avenue was expected to be closed most of the afternoon for cleanup.
Eliason encouraged drivers to instead use the Santa Maria Way ramps during the temporary closure.
CHP will be investigating the incident.