Family of Missing Trucker Finds “Closure” After Body Found in San Jacinto River

Harris County, Texas – The body of a trucker who, along with his big rig, plunged off an I-10 bridge and into the San Jacinto River early Thursday morning was recovered on Friday.

While authorities have not officially identified the deceased driver, family members told ABC13 the trucker was Steve Martinez, 60, of San Antonio.

Martinez’s family had been asking for prayers for “closure” since the accident occurred at approximately 3:45 a.m. along the westbound lanes.

 

Closure came Friday after authorities said his body was located in the sleeper berth of the partially submerged semi-truck.

“A very sad outcome from a crash that began early yesterday morning, but we are relieved that we will be able to bring closure to a family and they will be able to have a proper burial,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

 

As Transportation Nation Network reported on Thursday, Gonzales said initial search and rescue efforts were unsuccessful.

Shortly after the accident, a recovery diver was able to break out the glass of the passenger side window and get into the cab to find the driver.

However, Gonzales said the diver was unable to locate the trucker inside the cab at that time.

Divers once again searched the truck’s cab Friday morning, and this time, were able to recover him from the sleeper.

“The truck basically jackknifed, with the front portion of the truck into mud and silt, so the compartment was completely filled with mud,” said Gonzales.

Removal of the truck, owned by Arkansas-based Rich Logistics, is proving to also be a challenge.

“The truck landed on top of almost the perimeter of a Superfund site that’s highly toxic so we did not want to disturb the caps that are in place there,” the sheriff explained.

“We anticipate, and we are coordinating efforts right now to bring very large machinery that will be in place by [Saturday] morning, and we expect that operation to take place around 9 a.m. when the truck will be lifted from the water,” Gonzales said.

 

As for Martinez, he had just celebrated his 60th birthday on Wednesday — the day before the tragic accident.

Investigators said a previous accident involving a tractor-trailer and a Chevrolet Cavalier had left the Cavalier disabled, without its headlights on and facing oncoming traffic in the westbound lanes.

The tractor-trailer involved in that accident did not stop, officials said.

Minutes later, Martinez swerved to avoid a collision with the Cavalier, over-corrected, and then crashed through the bridge guardrail and into the river below.

(Photo Courtesy: Houston Chronicle and the family of Steve Martinez)

 


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