New information is available in the deadly bridge collapse that took the life of one man and injured three others on I-35 in Saldano, Texas yesterday (March 26th), but questions still remain about the cause of the accident.
One Killed, Three Injured In Accident
Official word from the Texas Department of Transportation says that the oversized truck hit a beam on the under-construction overpass, which caused two other beams to fall into the interstate and hit other vehicles. One beam then fell onto a pickup headed in the opposite direction, killing the 32-year-old driver. Three other people were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The 18-wheeler involved suffered heavy damage during the accident. Two other 18-wheelers and 2 additional pickups were damaged also.
I-35 was closed for hours and traffic backed up for miles. TxDOT announced that I-35 reopened around 5 a.m. on Friday.
Questions Remain About Height of Bridge, Truck
The cause of the accident is the biggest source of confusion. According to KVUE ABC, TxDOT announced that the clearance of the bridge was 14 feet and 1/2 inch, but three signs in the area list the bridge height as 13 feet, six inches. However, one of KVUE’s onsite reporters said that a sign beside the bridge said the clearance was 14 feet, 3 inches. The truck’s owner, Julian Lares, was not able to answer when asked about the height of the truck.
Truck driver Valentin Martinez has driven for Lares for a year and had never been involved in any accidents before this.