BILLINGS – An Eastern Montana trucking company and the Baker man who owns the company have been convicted of intentionally mislabeling records related to transporting explosive materials.
Woody’s Trucking, LLC and Donald Wood Jr. were found guilty Tuesday at the end of an 8-day-long trial in U.S. District Court in Billings on 13 of 14 counts against them, including wire fraud, conspiracy, mail fraud and obstruction of justice.
The charges stem from December of 2012, when a driver for Wood’s Trucking loaded natural gas condensate, known as “drip gas,” from a pipeline station that transports products from the Bakken oil fields.
The gas was transported from North Dakota to a slop-oil processing and recycling company based near Wibaux.
The “bill of lading” that accompanied the shipment identified the product as “slop oil and water,” which is a non-hazardous substance.
While the driver was pumping the substance from the truck’s front tank in the facility, a fire ignited and injured three employees.
The tanks on the truck burned for eight days until the fire department determined the truck actually contained drip gas instead of the slop oil and water the bill of lading claimed.
Drip gas is a hazardous material that led to three serious injuries.
According to a press release from the Montana Department of Justice, witnesses testified at trial that Wood directed the driver to place a falsified Bill of Lading in the truck days after the explosion to cover up the fact that the company was hauling drip gas without placards.
The company was not insured to haul such hazardous materials, according to court documents.
Employees of the burned facility sued Wood’s Trucking for negligence.
A sentencing date has yet to be set.