The driver of an 18-wheeler is dead, another truck driver is in the hospital and northbound Interstate 35 just north of Waco may be shut down for days after a late Wednesday night accident.
The accident happened at about 10:30 p.m. on the northbound side of the highway at mile marker 349, according to Department of Public Safety reports.
By 5:30 a.m. Thursday the highway remained closed northbound and traffic was being diverted to an access road at Tours Road.
A spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation told News 10 one of the truck trailers was loaded with aluminum engine rods, which burned so intensely the highway surface was severely damaged.
A DPS spokesman said the intense heat from the fire damaged the highway surface badly enough that the highway may have to be re-paved at that spot and it could be shut down for days.
An early check of the TxDOT website showed average speeds in that area of the Interstate had fallen to as slow as 20 miles-per-hour.
DPS Trooper D.L. Wilson said the accident occurred when the driver of one 18-wheeler slowed down due to a closed lane.
The driver of the second 18-wheeler could not stop, and ran into the back of the first truck.
The second truck tractor burst into flames on impact.
The driver of the second was pronounced dead at the scene.
His identity has not yet been released pending notification of his next of kin.
The driver of the first 18-wheeler was flown to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco with non-life threatening injuries.
Trooper Wilson said a construction crewman tried to save the driver of the burning truck, but the door of the truck was jammed.
Wilson said it appeared the driver already was dead.
The construction worker burned his hands trying to save the driver.
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