Tanker catches fire in Austin; 1 dead



Posted on October 30, 2010 at 2:40 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- A truck driver died in a fiery crash Saturday morning shutting down the 183 overpass near Mopac in Northwest Austin. 

Investigators say the driver took the 183 overpass too fast. The truck flipped on its side, and caught fire around 6 am. 

The Texas Department of Transportation says the goal is to open the busy roadway in time for UT game traffic Saturday evening.
The semi was carrying 61-hundred gallons of fuel, and investigators believe the driver died inside.
“The curve was too much for the speed the tanker was going. It did roll over on its side and it ruptured at that point and caught fire,” said Lt. Rory Clark with the Austin Police Department.
The name of the driver has not been released until the family has been notified.
Firefighters let the fire burn itself out, but sprayed water underneath the bridge to keep it from melting and collapsing.
“If we would have put water on that fire our runoff would have been contaminated, and we didn't want that. That's why we made the decision to let it burn,” said Lt. Randy Elmore.
The crash shut down the 183 overpass near Mopac for several hours Saturday.
“Traffic was backed up all the way up north for miles, so it was real tedious just trying to get through this morning,” said Austin driver Marshall Curtis.
Tex-dot says there is no structural damage to the overpass, only superficial. Damage is estimated at $500,0000 dollars.
“I guess if there is any silver lining to this cloud it did not happen on a Monday morning,” said John Hurt with the Texas Department of Transportation.