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Emergency responders arrived at the scene of a freight truck crash near Cotulla shortly after sundown on Wednesday, July 28, to find that a high-voltage power line had been brought down across the interstate.
The Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol confirmed in a statement this week that a freight truck had veered off the interstate and collided with a pylon owned by American Electric Power, pulling the live line down across both lanes of the interstate near Milemarker 65 as well as the access roads on both sides, bringing all traffic to a complete stop.
The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office, the La Salle County Fire Rescue & EMS, the Texas Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies in the area dispatched all available resources to the crash site as north- and southbound traffic on the interstate was logjammed. Responders discovered that a freight truck driver had sustained serious injuries in the crash and that the power lines had sliced through the roof of a northbound freighter when they had descended across the interstate.
The Highway Patrol is investigating the crash and has reported that the incident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday, when the driver of a Volvo tractor-trailer rig lost control of his steering in the northbound lanes of the interstate. The report indicates that the driver failed to drive in a single lane of traffic and that the freighter left the paved road and crossed the east-side median and access road before plowing onto property where the AEP tower stood.
“The collision caused the tower to collapse,” investigators reported, “and the power lines then fell down.”
The driver of the Volvo truck was listed by medics as suffering incapacitating injuries and was airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio.
The high-voltage lines struck a northbound Freightliner tractor-trailer rig, demolishing the cab roof and slicing through three fourths of the length of the 53-foot box trailer, according to emergency responders.
The Freightliner truck driver is reported as having escaped injury.
Sheriff’s deputies assisting with traffic control have reported that the interstate was closed for at least three hours and that relief routes were made available to north- and southbound traffic via FM 133 at Artesia Wells and FM 468 at Cotulla.