VIDEO: Big Rig Lifted From “Toxic” San Jacinto River Site After Deadly Crash
Harris County, Texas – The big rig that went barreling off an I-10 bridge on June 27 and became partially submerged in the San Jacinto River below was finally lifted from the water on Saturday.
The truck driver, who family members identified as 60-year old Steve Martinez of San Antonio, over-corrected trying to avoid a disabled Chevrolet Cavalier facing oncoming traffic in the westbound lanes around 3:30 a.m.
Investigators say the Cavalier was in an accident with another semi-truck that fled the scene.
Martinez missed the Cavalier, but crashed through the bridge’s guardrails and landed in the San Jacinto River.
The tractor-trailer landed on the perimeter of a highly toxic Superfund site, which made recovery efforts of both the driver and the truck more difficult.
“It’s been a very complex crash from where the truck landed. The truck was basically jack-knifed with the front portion of the truck in the mud and silt that was there so the compartment was completely filled with mud,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
Sheriff Gonzalez worked with T & T Salvage of Galveston to lift the truck and trailer, which detached upon impact, from the river.
WATCH the truck and trailer being lifted from the murky waters of the San Jacinto River in the video below, courtesy of YouTube/KHOU11.
The search for Martinez’s body came to an end on Friday, when he was located in the sleeper of his rig by a dive team.
Authorities have still not positively identified the driver, but Martinez’s family told multiple news outlets it was their loved one who plunged off of that bridge.
Martinez celebrated his 60th birthday a day before the crash.
The family was supposed to celebrate Martinez’s birthday with him over the weekend, but instead spoke to local news outlet KSAT12 about their tragic loss.
They said they will always remember him as a kindhearted man who loved being a trucker.
(Photo Courtesy Houston County Sheriff’s Office)