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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wrong-way driver charged in fiery fatality crash that has shut down Interstate 30

     

    Westbound Interstate 30 just east of downtown Fort Worth could be closed for most of today after a fiery early-morning accident involving a fuel tanker caused massive damage to the roadway and bridge beams.

    “”We’re working on a plan to hopefully get two lanes open by late this afternoon, but it’s going to take some time to fix,”” said Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jodi Hodges, adding that the repairs could take weeks. “”Those beams are going to have to be replaced.””

    Louis Nieves, 23, the driver of a pickup that slammed into the fully loaded fuel tanker while headed the wrong way on I-30, is under arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and intoxication manslaughter, Fort Worth police said.

    He has taken a blood test but results were not yet available, said Sgt. Cynthia Blake of the Traffic Investigation Unit.

    Police did not yet know where the pickup entered the westbound lanes of I-30, but the first calls from witnesses around 2:30 a.m. Monday described it as headed eastbound near Henderson and Cherry streets in downtown Fort Worth, Blake said.

    A few minutes later, just east of Interstate 35W near Riverside Drive, the pickup slammed head-first into the tanker truck, which had just filled up with fuel, Blake said.

    The truck overturned and exploded, sending flames high into the night. The tanker driver was trapped inside the cab after the crash. He died at the scene. The red pickup was cast aside, with its front end smashed.

    Nieves was taken to a local hospital for his injuries and was released into police custody Monday morning, police said.

    Most of the fuel from the tanker truck was allowed to burn off before firefighters extinguished the blaze, Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman Tim Hardeman said.

    A cleanup crew and an official with the city’s environmental department were at the scene, Hardeman said.

    The Fire Department’s hazardous materials team set up devices in the levee and riverbank underneath the bridge to catch any fuel that seeped into the water but test readings showed low levels of contamination, Hardeman said.

    Police blocked all entrances to the freeway near Beach Street and Riverside Drive until 5 a.m., when traffic began moving in the eastbound lanes.

    The tanker truck was owned and operated by Petro-Chemical Transport, a fuel tanker company based in Addison, a company spokeswoman said.

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