Trucker’s U-turn causes four deaths

| 1/14/2008

A Mexican trucker who was making a U-turn on a bridge was responsible for a wreck that killed four people this past week at the US-Mexico border according to the director of the bridge.

The Pharr City bridge director, James Medina, told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio that the trucker was northbound on the 3-and-a-half-mile long Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge on Thursday, Jan. 10, when he tried to make a U-turn on the four-lane structure.

One person was killed when a minivan hit the truck and caught fire. Three others died when their pickup veered off the bridge and into the dry riverbed below.

Medina says the trucker was on the Mexican side of the bridge when he attempted the maneuver. And, Medina says U-turns are not uncommon on the Mexico side of the bridge.

“On the Mexican side we see this happening all the time. In order to do a U-turn on the bridge, these guys have to block the entire four lanes,” Medina said. “Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence on the Mexican side and uncommon on our side.”

According to Medina, Mexican truckers make U-turns on the bridge because their dispatcher has called them back or they suddenly realize they don’t have the necessary paperwork to clear customs on the U.S. side.

Medina said the U-turns happen on the Mexico side on a weekly basis, sometimes several times a week. On the U.S. side, it’s only happened twice.

Pharr, Texas police are investigating the wreck but so far no charges have been filed.
– By Reed Black, staff writer