According to information from DPS, it was about 9:31 a.m. when Joshua West, 27, of Gatesville, was driving a 2003 Ford F-250 pickup in the northbound lane towing a trailer when the trailer began to sway, causing West to lose control of the pickup and cross into oncoming traffic in the southbound lane. West was not wearing his seat belt at the time.
The Ford pickup collided with a southbound 2006 Chevy pickup driven by Lance Bryan, 27, of Pleasanton. Bryan, who was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash, died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision.
A Hyundai Elantra, driven by Amanda Aguirre of Beeville, was following the Ford pickup in the northbound lane when it struck the engine that had been ejected from the Chevy pickup after the initial collision.
A 2006 Peterbilt 18-wheeler driven by Edward Sturgis, 47, of Nacogdoches, was following the Hyundai, also in the northbound lane when it struck the Ford pickup, jackknifing in the middle of the highway. Sturgis was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash and received only minor injuries.
West was airlifted to University Hospital for treatment to broken legs.
A passenger in the Hyundai, Irma Perez, 53, of Kenedy, was also airlifted to University Hospital in unknown condition complaining of neck, shoulder and back pain.
The Ford pickup that veered into oncoming traffic was pulling a flat-bed trailer containing chemicals, according to information from the State Operations Center. Three 55-gallon drums containing a solution of Aluminum Chloride and polymerized Amine fell off of the trailer and ruptured, affecting 1,000 feet of pavement and a bar ditch. SWS Environmental responded and worked to clean up the spill. The responsible party is Solution Services of Pleasanton.
The highway was closed, and traffic detoured for several hours as a result of the accident which remains under investigation.