Two Truckers Killed in Fiery Three-Semi Crossover Crash

Hico, TX – Two truckers lost their lives Wednesday along US 281 when the big rigs they were driving collided causing a fireball that could be seen for miles.

Authorities say James Crabtree, 33, of San Antonio, Ronald Ross, 59, of Millsap, and Elmer Saling, 66, of Lawn, were all traveling in their respective semi-trucks on US 281 shortly before 9 a.m. near Hico on Wednesday.

Crabtree was headed northbound in a 2019 Volvo tractor-trailer.

Ross was driving southbound in a 2015 Freightliner with Saling traveling behind in a 2011 Mack.

 

According to a preliminary report from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Crabtree’s Volvo crossed the median into the southbound lanes and collided head-on with Ross’ Freightliner.

Investigators say Saling reportedly took evasive action in attempts to avoid a collision, but was unable and struck the Freightliner and Volvo.

Authorities say the accident produced at least one explosion.

Flames engulfed the Freightliner and Volvo and the drivers, Crabtree and Ross, perished.

Saling was uninjured.

Authorities arrived at the scene at approximately 9 a.m. and reported the flames from the fiery crash were burning so intensely they were unable to get close to the trucks.

 

Terry Strickland, a motorist traveling on US 281, said he drove upon the crash approximately two minutes after it occurred.

“There was nothing anyone could do because the tires were exploding and it was too dangerous to get any closer to the burning trucks,” Strickland told KWTX.

Motorist Terry Strickland said the flames were too dangerous to get close to help. (Photo: Terry Strickland)

It was reported by neighboring counties that black smoke from the burning semis could be seen more than 20 miles away from the crash site.

Officials from the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) were called to the scene due to a possible hazmat issue in addition to roadway damage caused by the fire.

The road remained closed as officials and clean-up crews remained on-site until almost midnight.

 

DPS has not stated what they believe to be the cause of the crash though they urge drivers to avoid distracted, fatigued, and impaired driving.

The investigation is ongoing.

(Photo shared courtesy The Flash Today)

 


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