Couple Calls for Tougher Restrictions on 18-Wheelers

Man was trapped under rock hauler in January crash on I-35

A man who was trapped for more than an hour under a rock hauler last month says cities should impose tougher restrictions on an 18-wheelers traveling through North Texas.

Cindy Romero Benitez and Christian Benitez said a rock hauler merging into their lane ended up crushing their Toyota Corolla on Interstate 35 on Jan. 30.

The couple is suing the company that operated the truck and the 18-wheeler's driver, alleging gross negligence.

"This accident could have been prevented," their attorney, Domingo Garcia, said.

Garcia and the Benitez family are also pushing for local and state lawmakers to pass measures that would force 18-wheelers to only drive in the right-hand lane.

Houston, San Antonio and Austin have all passed similar ordinances.

"We believe it's time Dallas does it, and Texas does it, for the safety of all drivers who travel the highways in the state of Texas," Garcia said.

Cindy Romero Benitez escaped the wreckage south of Dallas while rescue crews worked for 90 minutes to free her husband.

"At that moment, I thought he wouldn't make it," she said. "He was coughing up blood, his bones were broken, and his arm was going in every direction."

Christian Benitez is out of the hospital, but he is unable to walk and faces months of rehabilitation.

"He's in a lot of pain, and he cries all the time," his wife said.

The wife of the driver said her husband has no comment on the suit.
Atkins Management did not return phone calls asking for comment on the lawsuit.

The North Texas Regional Transportation Council has a pilot program in place that will force 18-wheelers into the far right two lanes of some three-lane highways in North Texas.

The program will include police enforcement on stretches of Interstate 20, Interstate 30 and Interstate 45.

Contact Us