By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Mix fog and “speed too fast for conditions” on a Texas highway and the results can be more than spectacular. Texas highway troopers had responded to a crash on Highway 94 near Slaton (southeast of Lubbock) when a semi-truck came onto the scene a bit too fast.
The semi came off the highway, heading straight for first responders, who responded rather quickly in an attempt to get out the way of the fast-moving behemoth. The semi rolled on its side, sliding into the accident scene. Unfortunately, an RVer pulling a travel trailer had just pulled off on the shoulder – and probably watched dumbfounded from his tow vehicle as the semi first mashed a pickup truck on the scene, then smashed the travel trailer.
Along the way the semi truck also struck a state trooper, and trapped yet another bystander in a pickup truck. Both of these were taken to the hospital. The trooper sustained a broken ankle, some bruises and cuts, but he was released later in the day. The man in the pickup truck had to be extracted with heavy rescue equipment. He sustained internal injuries, but is expected to be released from the hospital.
Reports indicate the December 31 incident unfolded with an initial two-vehicle crash at around 10:45 in the morning. It blocked the westbound lanes of the highway, and troopers were on scene investigating when an eastbound semi-truck jackknifed and landed in the median strip. Other vehicles then piled into the semi.
The semi that barreled into the trooper, truck, and travel trailer had been eastbound, coming onto the accident scene when an SUV did a quick lane change in front of the semi. The semi driver lost control, jackknifed, and plowed on into the scene.
Law enforcement is still investigating, and indicate that they may well be issuing a number of citations, probably for “unsafe speed.” Evidently some drivers may have been blasting along a 75 miles per hour despite the foggy conditions, and certainly driving too fast at the scene of the accident.