Victim of fiery I-35 crash found dead after 18-wheeler towed

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Bruceville Eddy, Texas (KWTX) The body of a Texas woman who died early Wednesday in a fiery 18-wheeler crash on Interstate 35 that left her husband badly burned wasn’t found until after the rig was towed to an impound yard in Bruceville-Eddy, officials confirmed Thursday.

Michelle Whitehead (left) died in the fiery crash that left her husband Sidney (right) badly burned. (Family photos)

Sidney Whitehead remains in the burn center of Parkland Memorial hospital with burns to his face, head, back and legs, his daughter, Tory Whitehead, said Thursday.

Her mother, Michelle Whitehead, died in the fiery crash, but her body wasn’t found until after the truck was towed from the crash scene, Tory Whitehead said.

Whitehead says her father is conscious and has shared details about what led to the crash early Wednesday morning on the northbound interstate in Bruceville-Eddy.

“Another 18-wheeler tried to cut him off, bulldogging him. That driver began to brake check him for several miles and tried to cut him off,” she said.

“That's when my father swerved to avoid being clipped and hit the parked dump truck."

Whitehead says a passerby pulled her father out of the truck.

“He was badly burned trying to get his wife Michelle out of the sleeper area of the cab,” she said.

Tory Whitehead says first responders did not check for other people in the truck after hearing the driver had been rescued,

“When I was called about the wreck I asked about my mother and was told by an officer there was only one person in the truck."

Whitehead says her mother's body was not discovered until the truck was towed and the cleanup was ongoing.

Whitehead says she was told her mother's body was unidentifiable.

Bruceville Eddy Police Chief Bill McLean confirmed the body was discovered at the tow yard in Bruceville-Eddy.

"It's a tragic situation all the way around and we were unaware anyone else was inside, which is why we did not check."

Whitehead says her father drives for McNews Produce out of Henderson.

Whitehead and his wife were hauling a load of avocados when their 18-wheeler hit a construction dump truck parked in the interstate median just before 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Sidney Whitehead was taken first to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Waco and then was transferred to Parkland.

“He was supposed to get a new truck yesterday after having problems with his truck and switching to a temporary one on the day of the wreck,” his daughter said Thursday.

"The temporary truck was having steering issues and Sidney reported the issues three hours prior to the wreck to his partner,” Whitehead said.

The accident closed the highway down for several hours Wednesday.


The wreckage of the truck was towed to this salvage yard in Bruceville-Eddy. (Photo by John Carroll)
The wreckage of the 18-wheeler. (Photo by John Carroll)
The wreckage of the 18-wheeler. (Photo by John Carroll)