A leaking roustabout truck left a strip of sticky oil down U.S. Highway 281 all the way through Pratt County on Friday, including right down Pratt's Main Street.
Friday the 13th didn't start off too well for a roustabout truck driver from P & S Electric and Roustabout Service, Inc. out of Great Bend. When the truck went through Pratt between 9-9:30 a.m. on U.S. Highway 281, it left a sticky, smelly mess of crude oil stripped all the way down Main Street.
"We could see it coming and knew this wasn't going to be good," said City of Pratt street department worker Nick Lauffer. "It wasn't a big leak, but there was enough globbing out in a steady stream that cars driving behind it got messy tires."
Lauffer said a city crew was quickly dispatched to throw sand on the six-inch oil slick that went all the way through town on Main Street from south to north.
"The worst of the oil was on South Main from 1st to 10th Street," Lauffer said. "We put down two 1-ton truck loads of sand, let that soak a bit and then swept some of it off. The worst was gone pretty quickly, the rest will just have to wear away."
According to Pratt County Sheriff Jimmy White, calls started coming into the county dispatch office at 9:30 a.m. on Friday from people reporting the oil spill in progress at the truck moved through town.
"The leak actually started around Coats," White said. "It wasn't really a fast leak, but we got a skunk stripe all the way across the county on 281 by the time it was over with."
White said it looked like, when the roustabout truck was loaded, the gun barrel tank was placed on the trailer on its side. A crack in the top began leaking and was not detected by the company or the driver.
"The worst part of the whole deal was that when law enforcement finally got him pulled over north of town between 20th and 30th streets, about 10 gallons of crude oil leaked out before they could get the problem fixed," White said.
Pratt Emergency Management Director Tim Branscom said Pratt Police Department, Pratt County Sheriff's Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol were all involving in stopping the driver of the oil-leaking truck. White said, because of the large oil spill in the ditch north of town, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment was also involved in the cleanup effort.
Helping spread sand on the streets in the city limits of Pratt to soak up the oil were Lucas Carson, Justin Holtz and Lauffer.