Highway Patrol Trooper Bryan Fishbeck said a 45-year-old Mathis woman, Graciela Smith, was traveling north on State Highway 359 toward Tynan, more than a mile inside the San Patricio County line, when her tire blew.
Her 2003 Ford pickup swerved right into the path of a 2000 Freightliner tanker truck and the two vehicles collided.
The impact sent the 18-wheeler into the ditch on the east side of the highway where it came to rest on its right side. All the wheels on the trailer of the rig were knocked from the frame. The driver, Enrique Aguilar, was reported to be in stable condition at Memorial Hospital. He was taken there by Angel Care Ambulance Service of Beeville.
The woman in the pickup was trapped in the vehicle and it took rescuers from the Mathis Volunteer Fire Department some time to get her free. Witnesses at the scene said she seemed to be slipping into shock at about the time they got her out of the vehicle.
She was flown by helicopter to the Corpus Christi hospital.
Fishbeck said she was listed in critical condition at the hospital.
The accident blocked off both lanes of the highway but traffic was routed around the scene through a portion of an adjoining field.
Witnesses said they were told that people as far away as Skidmore had heard the sound of the crash.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.