Fatal truck crash causes extreme fire, damaging I-35

Two tractor trailers collided in a fiery explosion south of Dallas last week. One of the drivers died in the inferno that burned hot enough to melt the truck's aluminum contents onto the roadway.

It's not entirely clear what went wrong but it appears that the truck accident happened after one of the vehicles rear-ended the other while driving as much as 70 miles per hour.

One truck, an 18-wheel tractor-trailer hauling Corona beer was driving north on I-35 near Ross when the traffic ahead slowed in a construction zone. The driver apparently slowed down to between 10 and 15 mph. Although the driver had flashing hazard lights turned on, this was not enough to keep a second truck from slamming into the back of the trailer.

A Texas state trooper said that the second truck never slowed down at all and may have been driving as fast as the posted speed limit of 70 mph. When the second cab smashed into the back of the first trailer, it exploded into what observers described as a "massive fireball." Both trucks burned rapidly in the large fire. The second truck was carrying aluminum engine parts and the heat from the fire melted them onto the roadway.

The second driver died in the initial crash but the first driver sustained only relatively minor injuries and left the hospital that night after receiving treatment. Melted aluminum coated I-35 and the Department of Transportation had to grind it down to repair the pavement.

This crash probably points to some inherent risks in the trucking industry. When drivers control enormous, fully loaded vehicles like these trucks, the smallest mistake can turn into a fatal disaster.

Source: Land Line, "Texas crash kills trucker; fire damages highway," Kimbereley Lennard, Oct. 18, 2012

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