November 9, 2018
Montana Trucking Company and Its Owner Sentenced for Multiple Violations Pertaining to Illegal Transportation of Hazardous Materials
On November 9, 2018, Donald E. Wood, Jr., and his trucking company, Woody’s Trucking LLC (Woody’s Trucking), were sentenced in U.S. District Court, District of Montana. Wood was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in prison and 3 years of supervised release. Woody’s Trucking was sentenced to 4 years of probation. The judge also ordered restitution of $644,689.70 and forfeiture of $644,689.70, totaling $1,289,370.40 in monetary penalties owed by the defendants. Wood and his company were convicted at trial by a Federal jury on May 22, 2018, for conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, and hazardous materials shipping paper and placarding violations.
This case stemmed from an incident on December 29, 2012, when a driver for Woody’s Trucking transported natural gas condensate (drip gas) from a processing facility in Watford City, North Dakota, to Custom Carbon Processing, Inc. (CCP), a slop-oil processing/recycling company near Wibaux. The bill of lading that accompanied the shipment identified the product as “slop oil and water,” a nonhazardous substance. However, while the driver was pumping the product from the truck’s front tank into the CCP facility, a fire ignited. The tanks on the truck burned for 8 days until the local fire department determined 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. Three CCP employees were seriously injured in the explosion.
Following the explosion, Wood, the CEO of the company, directed the driver to place a falsified bill of lading in the burned-out truck to cover up the fact that the company was hauling drip gas without placards. Furthermore, the company did not have insurance coverage for hauling drip gas.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division.