Big Rig Dangles Off Bridge After Crash

By Frank Heinz
|  Friday, Apr 9, 2010  |  Updated 10:07 PM CDT
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A big-rig is dangling off an overpass at SH121 near I-35 in <a title=Lewisville." />

A big-rig is dangling off an overpass at SH121 near I-35 in Lewisville.

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Driver Jumps From Big Rig to Stay Alive

New video released by the North Texas Tollway Authority of Thursday's fiery crash in Lewisville shows what happened.

Warning Explicit Language: Witness Video of Lewisville Crash

WARNING EXPLICIT LANGUAGE - Robert Jordan and his friend were driving on State Highway 121 when they saw the fiery crash of an 18-wheeler. Everyone escaped the accident without major injuries.
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A crash along northbound State Highway 121 at the Interstate 35E interchange caused a big rig to catch fire and dangle off the overpass.

The driver of the big rig was merging onto 121 when he was clipped by an North Texas Tollway Authority dump trunk, said Trooper Lonny Haschel of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The big rig jackknifed, caught fire and then hit a pickup truck.

"It was really crazy. It was unreal," one witness said.

The driver of the big rig, 59-year-old Randy Pierce, was able to jump out of the fiery cab to safety before it melted over the guardrail.

"I just couldn't believe it happened," Pierce said Friday. "I've been driving a lot of years, and I've seen things like that, but I never have been in the middle of something like that."

The pickup truck's driver, Gilberto Vasquez, 44, and the driver and passenger of the dump truck, 52-year-old Abebe Sbhat and 46-year-old Jorge Salgado, all escaped without injury.

The blaze destroyed most of the big rig's box trailer, which was carrying 40,000 pounds of frozen chicken, and left the cab dangling off of the overpass. The truck is owned by a company called Leap of Faith.

While the debris was removed from the roadway, the eastbound lanes of Highway 121 were shut down for several hours.

The North Texas Tollway Authority released video of the wreck Friday. The video shows a safety vehicle following a sweepr truck on eastbound Interstate 35E.

"The safety vehicle pulled around the sweeper and into what appears to be the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler, which led to the accident," NTTA Executive Director Allen Clemson said.

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