By Neil H. Dempsey Staff Writer
The Salem News
---- — BEVERLY — Businesses at a Cummings Center building were evacuated and portions of Elliott and McKay streets shut down after an 18-wheel dump truck crashed into a parking garage yesterday morning and began leaking fuel.
The crash happened just before 10 a.m., when authorities say a truck with a 30-foot Dumpster on the back veered off the road as it traveled west on Elliott Street, running down an embankment and into the side of Building 950 of the Cummings Center.
While diesel fuel poured into the first floor of the parking garage from the truck’s damaged tank, the fire crew from Truck 1 worked to free the trapped driver from the truck’s cab using the Jaws of Life, Deputy fire Chief Peter O’Connor said in a press release.
Police identified the driver as David Claffey, 48, of Beverly.
O’Connor estimated that between 40 and 50 gallons of fuel leaked from the truck’s tank, leading authorities to evacuate the commercial properties at the front of the building. The portion of Building 950 that the truck actually struck was only used for vehicle parking.
Once freed from the wreck, the driver was taken to a local hospital. Police spokesperson Dave Costa said the crash is under investigation by local and state authorities. It was unknown what caused the truck to veer off the road in the first place.
Engineers found no significant damage to the building, and an environmental cleanup company was called in to remove the spilled fuel from the scene, O’Connor said. The Fire Department was on the scene until 3:04 p.m.
Portions of Elliott and McKay streets were closed well into the afternoon, Costa said.
It was the second crash in Beverly in the past week to involve a dump truck with a Dumpster on the back. On Oct. 4, a Waste Management truck traveling southbound on Route 128 ran off the road just before 9 a.m., dumping its load.
The driver of the truck was hospitalized, as were four people involved in two accidents that occurred on the other side of 128 soon thereafter. Fire Lt. Ryan Laracy said at the time it was possible the two accidents had been caused by people distracted by the scene of the dump truck crash.