A 55-year-old truck driver is safe after he survived a rollover in his 18-wheeler Friday morning, Oct. 19 on US Highway 287.

No other casualties or injuries were reported in relation to the accident.

Traveling south on US-287 toward Waxahachie, the 18-wheeler lost control, rode up on the guardrail and fell approximately 100 feet into a creek on the right side at 8:25 a.m. Midlothian Police Capt. John Spann said a minor accident also occurred on the northbound side across the median when a car slowed down to watch the wreck and got rear-ended.

Spann said the driver of the 18-wheeler was conscious and able to communicate while he hung sideways thanks to his seatbelt.

“The cab of the truck was just totally devastated,” Spann said. “The driver was conscious and talking. He said he was fine; he just couldn’t get out of his seatbelt.”

Spann said a passerby pulled over, approached the truck and handed him a knife so he could cut himself out of his seatbelt. Spann said the driver was able to climb out of the truck and walk up to the highway on his own. He checked into the hospital for minor injuries and was back at the site within 45 minutes.

After they blocked the highway to one lane of traffic on the southbound side, Midlothian Fire Chief Dale McCaskill said a slight odor could be smelled from the crash. Spann noted there were hydrofluoric acid containers that had some residue on the bottom. Spann said they contacted a hazmat response team to remove the containers as a precaution.

“The driver himself had indicated to us that the totes that were inside the trailer were believed to be empty; that he was actually going to the place to have them filled,” McCaskill said. “But there was still potential for residual or small amounts of liquids in the totes.”

Besides the containers, Spann said the hazmat team responded to a diesel spill from the ruptured fuel tanks. Spann estimated that 55 to 100 gallons of diesel leaked from the vehicle.

“Both tanks were totally broken open,” he said. “They said once they get the trailer out of there, they will take about an hour and they will have it all cleaned up.”

Spann said, at one point, traffic was backed up all the way to Mansfield due to the blockade. The trailer was removed at 5:51 p.m. and the rest of the highway was opened shortly after.


David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX