HOUSTON – The man killed in a crash that shut down the Southwest Freeway on Monday afternoon was driving erratically when he struck a postal truck, Houston police say.
Police on Tuesday identified the victim as 61-year-old Dan Winfrey.
He was driving a red Jeep Cherokee southbound on the freeway when he hit a U.S. Postal Service 18-wheeler near Chimney Rock, police said.
Police said the crash caused both vehicles to slide toward an outside concrete wall. The small SUV was pinned between the wall and the postal truck as both vehicles continued to slide down the freeway. The big rig struck a pole, and both vehicles then burst into flames.
The driver of the Jeep died at the scene. The postal driver was sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Witnesses to the crash stopped and tried to help.
“We just heard a voice and we came out and we saw that,” said Mary Azari, who works at a furniture store and ran outside along with others.
“And we brought a mattress,” said Azari. “We told him jump. And I think he was stuck under the car. He couldn’t jump.”
Sisters Georgiana and Christiana Roach will never forget what they saw. The man in that SUV died in those flames.
“We were out here shedding tears,” said Georgiana. “We don’t even know the guy, but we were out here crying.”
The crash happened around 3 p.m. – just before the start of rush hour, and the freeway’s southbound lanes did not reopen until after 9 p.m.