Montana trucker pleads guilty to illegal transport of hazmat load

By Land Line staff | 5/28/2015

A Montana truck driver has pleaded guilty to illegally transporting hazardous materials without a placard, according to a release for U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General. Kelly Steen, of Baker, Mont., pleaded guilty on May 13 in U.S. District Court. Steen was indicted in October 2014 in connection with a December 2012 incident that resulted in fire at an oil processing facility in Montana.

Steen worked as an owner-operator and was dispatched to the job by Woody’s Trucking LLC. The bill of lading that accompanied the shipment incorrectly identified the product as “slop oil and water,” which is a non-hazardous substance. Court documents do not indicate who filled out the bill of lading.

According to the release, on Dec. 29, 2012, Steen, driving for Woody’s Trucking, loaded natural gas condensate, or “drip gas,” from a pipeline station that transports products from the Bakken oil fields in Montana and North Dakota. The drip gas was hauled from Watford City, N.D., to Custom Carbon Processing, Inc., a slop-oil processing/recycling company based near Wibaux, Mont., the release stated.

While Steen was pumping from the truck’s front tank into the facility, a fire ignited, injuring three employees. The tanks on the truck burned for eight days until the local fire department could determine that they held drip gas and not slop oil and water, as indicated on the bill of lading. Drip gas is a hazardous material, and the truck was not placarded to indicate it held a flammable liquid.

A sentencing hearing is set for Aug. 20.

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