GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A person died, and two others were injured after a fuel tanker rolled over the morning of Friday, April 21, on the Gold Star Bridge in Groton.

State police said a Toyota Avalon’s tire blew out around 11:15 a.m., causing it to swerve into the right acceleration lane on the southbound side and right in front of a merging home heating oil delivery truck. The tanker hit the back of the passenger vehicle, causing the truck to roll over and burst into flames.

The driver of the tanker, identified by authorities as 42-year-old Wallace Fauquet III of Gales Ferry, was pronounced dead at the scene. He worked for McCarthy Heating Oil Service out of Quaker Hill.

“There are no words to express our sorrow for the loss of a wonderful friend and loyal employee,” the company wrote in a statement. “‘Wally’ will be greatly missed. His energy and enthusiasm was infectious. Our love and prayers go out to his lovely wife, Elaine and children.  May he rest in peace. We want to thank all of our customers, friends, family, and everyone who has called to express their love and support at this difficult time.”

A GoFundMe campaign quickly surpassed its goal of raising $100,000 for Fauquet’s family.

Lt. Cornelius Rogers with the New London Police Department was off-duty when he came upon the crash and jumped in to render aid. Two passengers were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT) determined the bridge, which carries 60,000 vehicles daily, was stable and safe to reopen to traffic. According to Josh Morgan, spokesman for the CT DOT, the steel was not damaged.

Morgan said crews and contractors worked through the night to remove and replace damaged fencing and railing.

State police said Monday that all lanes of the Gold Star Bridge have reopened. The shoulder and entrance ramp to I-95 South remain closed, and the pedestrian crossing will remain closed until further notice.

The tanker could hold about 2,200 gallons of No. 2 home heating oil, but authorities did not know how much was on board at the time of the crash. DEEP crews set out booms in the Thames River, and officials believe they captured about 85% of the oil which leaked into it.

Officials said a lot of the oil flowed down the drainage system as it burned, and a large part of the fence along the pedestrian pathway is now melted. Authorities said the fire spread to buildings below the bridge.

State police ask anyone who witnessed the crash or has dashcam video to contact Troop E at 860-848-6500.

The video below aired in our newscasts on April 22nd, 2023.