The driver of a home delivery oil truck suffered a medical issue that likely caused him to crash and overturn the truck, spilling fuel onto Interstate 295 and into the nearby Fore River in South Portland late Monday morning, authorities said.

Dale Brown, 58, of Topsham was being treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland for a head injury he suffered in the crash, and for the medical issue, which is believed to be heart-related. A hospital spokeswoman said that Brown was in satisfactory condition Monday evening.

The single-vehicle crash around 11 a.m. on I-295 northbound forced Maine State Police to reduce traffic flow to one lane for both northbound and southbound traffic in the area of Exit 4.

Traffic moving through the area was delayed for most of the afternoon, but police reported that as of 4 p.m. the crash site had been cleared. Environmental cleanup crews remained on the scene Monday evening, but travel lanes on both sides of highway were open.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Brown lost control of the truck, which struck a guardrail and a concrete abutment before overturning.

McCausland said the delivery truck spilled its entire load of home heating oil, estimated to be about 2,900 gallons, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection was notified. Clean Harbors was hired to clean up the spill.

McCausland said he did not know how much oil may have entered the river.

The Coast Guard also responded to the spill. Spokesman Lt. David Bourbeau said there was some minor sheening and some oil may have entered the river, but he added, “It could have been a lot worse.”

Bourbeau said it was low tide when the truck rolled over. He said low tide conditions probably kept most of the oil from leaking into the river. He did not know how much oil, if any, made it into the river.

“It has primarily been a landside cleanup,” he said.

McCausland said Brown owns the oil truck, which does business under the name of Dale’s Cash Fuel in Richmond. The business is registered to Dale Brown and Susan Hancock-Brown of Richmond.

A message left for the company was not returned Monday.

According to a federal trucking safety database maintained by the Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Dale’s Cash Fuel has two registered trucks and one driver, and has been involved in one crash before, but the date and seriousness of that crash were not immediately available.

The database, which tracks license and safety information, showed no record of prior safety or inspection violations.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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