Published March 15, 2023

Fatal Crash and Chemical Spill 

Written by
The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

ND Highway Patrol 

What: Two vehicle commercial motor vehicle fatal crash Where: I-94 MM 336 Westbound, approximately 2 miles west of Mapleton  

When: March 15th, 2023 at approximately 1:47 pm  

Road Conditions: Dry pavement  

Weather Conditions: Partly cloudy  

Type of Crash: Rear end collision  

Agencies Involved: NDHP, Cass County SO, Casselton FD, Casselton Ambulance, Mapleton FD, Fargo FD, NDDOT  

Vehicle No. 1: 2020 Peterbilt semi towing a flatbed, curtain side trailer  

Driver No. 1: 72 YOA male, British Columbia Canada - deceased Restraints: Unknown  

Charges: n/a  

Vehicle No. 2: 2014 Volvo semi towing a tanker trailer  

Driver No. 2: Yuhai Zhu, 52 YOA, Richmond Hill, ON – no injuries Restraints: Unknown  

Charges: On-going investigation  

NARRATIVE: The Volvo semi was westbound on I-94 and had stopped for an unknown reason in lane two of westbound I-94. The Peterbilt semi approached the Volvo, swerved left, but rear ended the tanker trailer being towed by the Volvo.  

 As a result of the collision, the Volvo semi was pushed onto the westbound shoulder and partially into the ditch and came to rest facing west. The tanker trailer being towed by the Volvo was punctured and began to leak ethylene glycol from the puncture in the trailer. The Peterbilt came to rest across the westbound lane and partially into the median facing west. The Peterbilt caught fire because of the crash. The Peterbilt was hauling large HVAC equipment. Both vehicles remained upright after the collision.  

The Mapleton and Casselton Fire Departments responded and extinguished the fire. After the fire was put out, it was discovered the driver of the Peterbilt was still in the cab and was deceased.  

An estimated 6500-6700 gallons of ethylene glycol leaked from the tanker trailer into the north ditch along I-94. Ethyl glycol is green antifreeze and is not a hazard to the motoring public. An environmental company is being dispatched to remediate the glycol spill.  

Eastbound I-94 was closed for approximately an hour after the crash. Westbound I-94 remains closed for the removal of the vehicles involved in the crash and will open when the vehicles are removed from the roadway. Traffic was detoured from these roadways at Mapleton and Casselton to ND State Hwy. 10. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office and the NDDOT assisted with these road closures and detour routes.  

The Fargo Fire Department assisted on scene as part of the hazardous material response. The NDDOT assisted with containing the glycol spill in the ditch. The name of the deceased will be released during the evening on March 16th. This crash remains under investigation by the North Dakota Highway Patrol. 

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