**UPDATE May 23, 2023 @ 5:45 p.m. – Roadway Reopened**
Linn County Sheriff Michelle Duncan reports today around 10:39 a.m., the Linn County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a 911 call reporting a tanker truck had crashed at the 4600 block of Lyons Mill City Drive near Lyons. Initial details suggested the fuel truck was fully engulfed.
During their response, deputies learned explosions were being reported as the vehicle continued to be consumed by flames, spreading to a nearby abandoned residence. The fire also caused downed powerlines. Upon arrival, deputies found the vehicle still engulfed in flames and the only occupant, later identified as Steven Froemke, 63 of Lebanon, was deceased in the vehicle. Multiple fire departments arrived on scene and worked to protect surrounding areas from the flames and fuel. The fire continued to consume spilled fuel from the tanker where it also spread to trees and vegetation. An additional abandoned residence also caught fire, damaging the garage.
The investigation revealed Froemke was traveling east on Lyons Mill City when he did not negotiate a corner, and drove off the road, causing the 2000 Kenworth Carson Oil tanker truck to crash into a tree, and catch fire. Several hundred gallons of fuel, including regular grade, supreme, and diesel fuel were spilled, continuing to burn for hours. The fire departments and hazmat crews worked to prevent the fire from spreading, and ensure the fuel was contained within the area.
There is no indication the water supply in the area is contaminated. Numerous agencies will remain on scene as the investigation continues. It is unknown at this time what caused Froemke to leave the roadway, but there is no indication of impairment.
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office is grateful for the assistance from the Lyons Fire Department, Mill City Fire Department, Gates Fire Department, Stayton Fire Department, Sublimity Fire Department, Scio Fire Department, Idahna-Detroit Fire Department, Oregon State Fire Marshals Hazmat, Chemeketa Fire Program, Linn County Medical Examiner’s Office, Linn County Road Department, Oregon Occupational Safety and Health, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and Pacific Power.
As of approximately 5:45 p.m. on May 23rd, the roadway is reopened. However, commuters and residents of the area are advised that additional temporary, periodic, closures may occur tomorrow.
–Posted May 23, 2023 at 11:18 a.m.–
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office wants the public to be aware that Lyons-Mill City Drive is currently closed in both directions, near the intersection with Neighbors Lane. The closure is due to a fatal crash requiring the roadway to be closed for first responders and the investigation into the cause of the crash.
Detours and alternate routes utilizing Highway 22 should be used until further notice.