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and then came the loss…..

January 30, 2010

As you can see from my time on the ranch…..I found a place where I belonged. I was very happy there. I didn’t mind driving an hour down and up the mountain before and after work. Then a big rain storm hit Los Angeles, but in the mountain it was snowing and the road home was destroyed.

I then get a call….and I realize….my cousins do not know….and I proceed to get on the phone and tell them one by one, “I’m so sorry I have to be the one to tell you this, but your father died this morning.” I am also the one who is gathering the information and sending it to every one in the family. These are the articles I had to send.

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‘Nicest guy’ dies in fiery I-5 crash near Wilsonville

By Jim Braly, The Oregonian

December 28, 2008, 8:16PM
Oregon State Police
Little remains of a tanker truck carrying about 11,000 gallons of gasoline after it crashed and caught fire along Interstate 5 in the Wilsonville area early Saturday, killing the driver, William Neil Adams, 56, of Scappoose. The freeway was shut down in both directions for more than five hours.

The Scappoose-area man who died in a fiery tanker truck crash early Sunday had lost his home to a fire less than two weeks earlier.

William Neil Adams, 56, died after his truck and trailer carrying about 11,000 gallons of unleaded fuel drifted off Interstate 5’s southbound lanes near Wilsonville, hit a light pole, flipped over and exploded into flames, according to accounts from police, fire and transportation officials. The crash closed the freeway for five hours and tied up traffic most of Sunday.

The crash came 11 days after an accidental fire gutted Adams’ home in the hills outside Scappoose. Adams had just returned to work on Christmas Eve and was working short shifts while he recovered from the blaze.

“The guy was just the nicest guy,” said Tony Reinhard, Adams’ boss and owner of Reinhard Petroleum based in Federal Way, Wash. Despite the house fire, Reinhard said, Adams remained upbeat. “He was all pumped up on Friday.”

Reinhard recalled Adams telling a co-worker that after the bad stuff that happened to him this year, he was “excited for a new year.”

Oregon State Police on Sunday couldn’t figure out why Adams’ truck drifted off the freeway.

Lt. Gregg Hastings, Oregon State Police spokesman, said it’s not unusual that investigators can’t pin down the cause of single-car crashes because there are few if any witnesses or physical evidence. In this case, the intense blaze destroyed the truck and may have burned potential evidence.

Reinhard said he talked with people at the scene and suspected Adams’ crashed because a medical problem left him unconscious. After the truck drifted off the freeway, “there’s no sign of braking and no sign of trying to get it back on the road,” Reinhard said.

It’s the second time in just over five years that a Reinhard Petroleum driver died in a crash. In November 2003, a tanker truck swerved off a highway and down a hillside in Washington’s Grays Harbor County, according to news reports at the time.
11,000 gallons of fuel

Before the crash, Adams’ tanker truck filled up with about 11,000 gallons of unleaded fuel at a large storage tank in the Northwest Portland community of Linnton along U.S. 30.

Adams was bound for Salem in the pre-dawn darkness. The freeway — just a week ago an icy, rutted mess — was wet but clear.

Around Wilsonville, Adams’ truck started to drift onto the right shoulder, then onto an ice berm, according to the state police preliminary investigation.

The truck barreled about 70 feet off the freeway to the west before it hit a light pole. The truck turned over onto its top and the trailer on its side near the south Wilsonville exit, state police said. A 9-1-1 caller reported hearing an explosion in south Wilsonville about 2:45 a.m.

By the time firefighters arrived, the truck and trailer were swallowed in flames near a grove of trees, said Cassandra Ulven, a spokeswoman for Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

Crews tried to put out the blaze and approached the truck to try to rescue the driver. But the water made the flames grow and firefighters worried about another explosion. So they let it burn and closed the freeway. They searched a field nearby with a thermal imaging camera in case Adams had escaped.

The fire burned for five hours and torched a few trees nearby. The acrid black smoke plume could be seen for miles.

A west wind blew smoke across the freeway and forced authorities to shut all Interstate 5 lanes for about 5 1/2 hours. After the fire burned out, troopers and firefighters found the remains of the driver in the truck late in the morning, Hastings said.
Traffic choked

The accident scene and lane closure choked southbound traffic for much of the day. The freeway’s right-hand southbound lane opened about 3:10 p.m. and the Wilsonville southbound on-ramp opened about 5:15 p.m.

The fire did not damage the freeway. Transportation officials also searched for any gas leaks into nearby streams or groundwater and found none, said Dave Thompson, an Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman.

State troopers will continue to investigate the cause of the crash.


Reporter Noelle Crombie of The Oregonian contributed to this report.
ryanfrank@news.oregonian.com

— Ryan Frank:

WILSONVILLE, Ore. — A 56-year-old man died Sunday when the tanker truck he was driving crashed and caught fire.

The double-tanker truck overturned on the Wilsonville on-ramp to Interstate 5 and burst into flames at about 2:45 a.m.

William Adams, of Scappoose, had been driving the tanker truck and pulling a trailer loaded with about 10,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline. The tanker had been loaded at the Highway 30 fuel terminal in Linton and was headed to Salem.

State police said the truck drifted onto the right shoulder and onto ice. It continued about 70 feet off the highway, overturned and then caught fire, according to police.

Adams’ partial remains were later found inside the truck, troopers said.

Hazmat experts allowed the truck to burn and Interstate 5 was closed for several hours as a result.

The I-5 southbound detour was rerouting drivers to Interstate 205 northbound to Oregon City and then on to Highway 99E southbound to Aurora back onto I-5.

ODOT asked drivers to avoid I-5 near the I-205 merge and Aurora.

Tanker Truck Fire Shuts Down I-5

My Uncle Billy was the most amazing person…I have so much to share from his life and how he helped not only his family but his community. He made sure I had my Eskimo card and Eagle feathers (legally) and gave them to me the summer before he died. I remember calling someone in LA about how the news showed up to run a nightly report on his Memorial….and true to a native from Los Angeles he said, “Really, what was he known for?”

I said, “For being a nice guy.”

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