Trucker hero saves lives in Texas pileup

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter | Thursday, January 05, 2012

In Port Arthur, TX, sheriff’s officers are crediting an unidentified trucker with saving lives early this morning during a big chain-reaction accident on Highway 73 just west of the city.

As many as 40 people were injured when at least 50 vehicles were involved in a pileup caused by a combination of fog and smoke from wildfires.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Rod Carroll told “Land Line Now” that cars and trucks were doing between 50 and 70 miles an hour when visibility suddenly dropped to nothing.

“Talking to all the drivers out there, they said they could not see the front of their cars, so they basically drove into a fogbank with a mixture of fog and smoke from the marsh fires. Fortunately one of the professional truck drivers realized what had happened in front of him and stopped. That’s the only thing that stopped this from being a true tragedy,” said Carroll.

Carroll said that when the trucker realized what he had gotten into, he stopped, tried to get over on the side of the road, and turned on his four-ways. He also let everyone know by CB to “go ahead and shut it down.”

Then a car came along and struck him in the rear.

“If he had continued on, he could have hit one of the DPS troopers. ... He’s the unsung hero,” said Carroll. “It tells you the difference between someone who knows what they’re doing and somebody who doesn’t.”

The deputy says the trucker’s trailer wasn’t seriously damaged and that as soon as the fog cleared he or she drove off before anyone could thank them.

He says no one was killed in the pileup, but four people were critically injured.

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