Two people were killed in a fiery crash in Baylor County last Thursday. The Times Record News reported that at least three vehicles were involved in this collision. The wreck occurred on U.S. 277. Randy West, a truck driver from Tennessee, said that a one-ton pickup truck was heading north on 277 when it swerved and hit his own rig. Mr. West was hauling pipe. After striking Mr. West’s rig, the pickup then struck an oncoming tanker truck which caused an explosion. Units from the Wichita Falls Fire Department were dispatched to assist in the containment of the fiery blaze. Both the pickup truck driver and the tanker driver were killed.
Trooper Brody Moore, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said that the tanker was believed to be filled with fuel. When first responders arrived on scene the truck was jackknifed and hazardous materials were being leaked onto the roadway. The fuel from the tanker burned off for nearly three hours. Firefighters sprayed the truck with foam to extinguish the flames. In addition to the original blaze, firefighters also had to contain and extinguish a small grass fire beside the road. The highway had to be closed all afternoon. Although the wreck happened around 1:15 p.m., crews were cleaning until well into the evening hours.
Originally, authorities were unable to identify the bodies of the victims. They were sent to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. The identities of both victims were released on Friday morning. The driver of the pickup truck was Jerry Jones, 56-years-old, of Noble, Oklahoma. The tanker truck driver was Kermith Johnson, 65-years-old, of Abilene. Authorities also discovered that the tanker truck was hauling lube oil. No details have been released on why Jones was swerving on the highway. Witnesses on the scene gave reports of a minivan that may also have been involved in this crash. The wreck is likely still under investigation. Tony Fulton, an Information Officer with the Department of Public Safety, stated that investigators would be working to determine the likely cause of the crash.
Wrecks involving tanker trucks can be incredibly dangerous, especially if they are hauling volatile chemicals. If you’ve been involved in a crash involving a large truck, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. The team at the Altman Legal Group sends their deepest condolences to the friends and family members of the victims in this terrible crash.