BEAUMONT, TX – A single vehicle truck accident closed down part of a major highway Sunday, January 30, in Jefferson County, Texas. The tractor trailer crashed and burst into flames on Interstate 10 where the highway passes through downtown Beaumont, TX. The truck accident occurred on the southeast side of the state near the border with Louisiana.
On Sunday morning an unidentified truck driver in a 2002 semi trailer truck was driving through southeast Texas. The trailer section was carrying a load of carpeting at the time of the truck accident, but it is not known where the driver was headed.
Rain storms were passing through the region and many roads were slick and had large puddles, which likely contributed to the truck accident.
At about 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning the semi driver was on westbound I-10 driving through downtown Beaumont when his 18 wheeler went out of control on the rain soaked highway. According to officials the tractor trailer was near the juncture with the MLK Parkway when the semi lost traction and began to hydroplane. The Freightliner jackknifed and came crashing down on top of the cement retaining wall running along the center of the highway. The tractor trailer skidded almost 300 feet on the cement divider, its fuel tanks scraping along the sides of the wall. The semi trailer truck would knock down two light poles before it finally came to a stop, one of the poles falling onto another westbound vehicle on I-10.
Within seconds the diesel inside the damaged fuel tanks ignited and the 18 wheeler exploded into flames. The semi driver was able to escape the cab section and was not injured in the truck accident or subsequent fire.
Beaumont police and rescue workers rushed to the scene of the fiery crash. Remarkably no one was seriously hurt in the truck accident. The driver in the car hit by the falling light pole had no injuries and officials said that the passenger received minor injuries. The passenger, who was not identified, was treated and stabilized at the crash site and then transported by ground ambulance to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital.
Beaumont firefighters battled the flames on the burning tractor trailer. Since the semi ended up straddling the median retaining wall after the truck accident, police shut down traffic in both directions on the highway while the firefighters fought the blaze. By the time the flames were extinguished the tractor trailer was a burnt shell and completely destroyed. A highway crew would work several hours to remove the wreckage and get it towed off the highway.
There was also a significant amount of debris littering the truck accident scene. When the semi trailer crashed onto the divider wall the impact broke off chunks of cement which fell into the westbound traffic lanes. These would have to be cleared before traffic could safely move through the area. Utility workers also came to the crash site to removed the downed light poles and set up replacement poles.
The eastbound lanes of I-10 were opened up at about 1:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon, but the westbound lanes would remain closed until shortly before 4:00 p.m., about 5 hours after the truck accident.
Police reconstructed the single vehicle crash but have not determined if charges will be brought against the driver. The wet road surfaces may have caused the truck accident and officials have not indicated if they suspect other factors. They did not confirm if the unidentified truck driver submitted to a toxicology screening, often required after a commercial vehicle incident.
The truck accident remains under investigation.
Gordon Elias & Seely, LLP recommend that if you know anyone who has been injured or killed as the result of a commercial truck accident involving a semi truck, 18 wheeler, big rig, tractor trailer or bus, tell them to immediately contact a qualified truck accident lawyer for advice. Gordon, Elias & Seely LLP are licensed in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Washington, DC and have informal relationships with other truck accident lawyers. Visit our Beaumont truck accident lawyer page or call 800.773.6770.