Washington man sentenced for crash death of tanker driver

By Land Line staff | 11/4/2014

In the state of Washington, a 22-year-old man was sentenced to two years and three months in prison for the death of an Auburn trucker on Interstate 5 two years ago. The truck driver, Joe Bartkowski, was described as a loving father and husband who “had a heart of gold.”

According to the Auburn Reporter, Stephen Palmer was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when he hit a guardrail, then abandoned his car in the middle of the highway at night.

It was hit by another car. The second car was clipped by a tanker truck full of aviation fuel driven by Bartkowski, who’s credited with swerving to avoid hitting other vehicles.

The Auburn newspaper reports that the tanker went off the road, down an embankment, hit a wall ,and exploded in flames. State troopers said Bartkowski’s truck was forced off the road.

Palmer apologized to the family.

KOMO Channel 4 News said friends and family of the trucker said they believe he did everything in his power to make sure no one else was harmed.

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