A motorist struck and ruptured a high pressure natural gas line on Dale Ridge Road causing some tense moments Sunday morning.
Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said 20 year old Brittaney Wheeler of Smithville was driving a 2001 Kia Sportage north on Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road) when she went off the right side of the road. Wheeler overcorrected and the vehicle came back across the highway, went off the left side of the road, and struck a mailbox and an above ground gas line pressure reducer near the Memorial Baptist Church, rupturing the line causing a massive gas leak. The vehicle came to rest on top of the broken line. Wheeler grabbed a two month old infant who was in the vehicle with her and they got out safely.
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Central dispatch was notified and alerted county volunteer firefighters. County Fire Chief Donny Green said he received the call at 10:39 a.m. Members of the Liberty and Main Stations responded along with county deputies and DeKalb EMS.
According to Chief Green, there was no fire from the gas leak but as a precaution the highway was closed to traffic from both the north and south within three hundred feet of the scene and one home was evacuated as a precaution until the leak was stopped. No one was at the church.
Chief Green said a special thanks goes to Joe and Dusty Johnson, local contractors who do work for the gas company. He said they responded quickly and capped off the high pressure gas leak.
Trooper Johnson said Wheeler was cited for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance)