LORENA (November 10, 2012)—A truck driver died and an Interstate 35 overpass was damaged early Saturday morning when a truck tractor, semi-trailer slammed into a bridge support in Lorena.
Lorena police Chief Tom Dickson said the southbound interstate at mile marker 322 is closed, as is Farm-to-Market 2837, also called the Rosenthal Parkway, where the road crosses the interstate.
The accident happened at about 4 a.m. when the southbound truck crashed into a bridge pillar and moved the concrete support off its base.
Traffic is being diverted off the interstate onto an access road and traffic on FM 2837 is being diverted to an alternate interstate crossing.
Dickson said the traffic situation likely would not improve until hours after noon on Saturday and depending upon what inspectors find the bridge could remain closed for a long period of time.
As late as 10 a.m. southbound traffic was backed up for more than three miles.
Dickson said a large crane was used to pull the truck and trailer up the embankment and off the roadway so crews could begin clearing debris.
Texas Department of Transportation engineers also are inspecting the damage done to the overpass but it will remain closed until it is determined to be safe.
Dickson said McLennan County Justice of the Peace Billy Martin pronounced the truck driver dead at the scene following the accident and ordered his body taken to the Southwest Institute of Forensic Science, in Dallas, for autopsy.
The driver’s name has not been released pending notification of his next of kin, Dickson said.
Dickson said witnesses who were driving behind the truck when the accident happened reported the truck began swerving about a mile before it hit the bridge.
He also said an initial investigation revealed there were no skid marks on the roadway leading up to the impact point.
Dickson said the truck was hauling various dry goods and there was no fire involved in the crash.