MIDLOTHIAN — A two-vehicle accident Friday afternoon injured one person and resulted in a massive fire, shutting down the northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 67. Emergency responders were dispatched at 12:51 p.m. to the 2800 block of U.S. 67.
“There were no fatalities and only one minor injury. Don’t have the names of anyone involved yet, but it did involve one passenger vehicle and one commercial vehicle. Both of them were traveling south on Highway 67,” Midlothian Police Department Capt. John Spann said. “I don’t know how the collision occurred, but the 18-wheeler went off the road and ruptured the fuel tanks. The driver was able to get out, but shortly after he got out the 18-wheeler caught fire. It pretty much burned the tractor part to the ground.”
Spann said the driver of the black sport utility vehicle, a female in her late 40's, was transported to Methodist Dallas Medical Center for some shoulder and leg injuries. The truck driver, in his 30's, was treated at the scene for some small cuts and a bump on his head.
According to a press release from the Midlothian Police Department, the preliminary investigation indicates that traffic was slowing for a truck/trailer that was turning off of U.S. 67 into a construction site and the involved truck/trailer did not see traffic slowing and it struck the black SUV. Two other vehicles were involved because they were struck by flying debris from the primary collision.
The 18-wheeler came to rest in the median and the SUV came to rest on the right hand shoulder upside down after rolling several times.
“Initially, it was about a mile and half back up. We had both north and south shut down completely due to the large amount of black smoke that was coming from the diesel fuel fire. It gave off quite a bit of smoke and some of it was drifting across the roadway,” Spann said. “Until the fire department knocked the fire down, which eliminated the smoke, we kept it closed. Then, as soon as we could, we had a couple of lanes open going each way to get the back up moving.”
Midlothian Assistant Fire Chief Phillip Brancato said the major difficulty that firefighters faced on the call was gaining access to the location because of the backed up traffic.
“There was a pretty substantial diesel spill on the roadway into the center medium,” Brancato said. “With the amount of diesel fluid on the roadway TxDOT said this was something they could handle.”
The cause of the accident is currently under investigation by the Midlothian Police Department at this time.