“No Signs Of Life” After Big Rig Plummets Off Of Bridge
UPDATE: The body of the missing trucker has been recovered from the San Jacinto River. Click HERE to read the latest.
Harris County, Texas – Investigators believe a truck driver died early Thursday morning after plunging off of a bridge into the San Jacinto River following an attempt to avoid colliding with a disable vehicle along the I-10 East Freeway.
Authorities said the fatal scene was precipitated by a crash between another tractor-trailer and Chevrolet Cavalier passenger vehicle at approximately 3:45 a.m. along the westbound lanes.
The impact of that collision spun the Chevrolet out and resulted in it coming to rest facing oncoming traffic.
A police deputy arrived on the scene shortly after that crash and discovered the 18-year-old driver and the 23-year-old passenger were not seriously injured.
The semi-truck driver involved in that collision continued on, authorities said.
However, the Chevrolet did not have its headlights on when another 18-wheeler approached it moments later.
That big rig then swerved to miss the vehicle and over-corrected, police said.
The tractor-trailer driver lost control and crashed through the guardrail.
It plummeted off of the bridge and into the San Jacinto River 20 to 30 feet below, authorities said.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales said the cab jackknifed and the front of it was completely submerged in sand and silt.
It was leaning toward the driver’s side and the trailer was partially submerged, he said.
Emergency responders were immediately dispatched in a search and rescue effort for the driver.
Gonzales said a diver was able to break out the glass of the passenger side window and get into the cab to find the driver.
However, the driver was not located, according to Gonzales.
There were “no signs of life” or that the truck driver was able to escape the truck, Gonzales sadly revealed.
Due to the murky conditions and the fact that the truck landed in a Superfund site, the diver was unable to keep looking for the driver, Gonzales said.
The submerged truck will remain in place for the remainder of the day Thursday as crews determine the safest way to remove the truck from the water without disturbing any chemical pockets or putting any rescue workers in danger, according to Gonzales.
Update on East Fwy crash: it does not appear that the truck can safely be moved today. The submerged truck will remain in place overnight and a private vendor will join the effort tomorrow. @HCSOTexas will provide security of the site overnight. #HouNews
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) June 27, 2019
They were initially looking at utilizing a crane or a barge to raise it, but are now waiting until Friday to bring in a private vendor to help raise it.
The HCSO Marine Unit, HazMat team, Crosby firefighters and the U.S. Coast Guard are all involved in the search.
Meanwhile, TxDOT officials are working to determine if the bridge remains structurally sound.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to monitor the investigation.
WATCH more about the search and rescue effort below courtesy of KHOU11/YouTube.