TxDOT report: Driver of Salado bridge crash was 'inattentive'

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 5/14/2015

A Texas Department of Transportation crash report says that the driver of the tractor-trailer that struck an overpass in Salado, Texas, in March was “inattentive.” The report also noted that the trailer load was “oversized, illegal and unpermitted.”

On March 26, Lares Trucking driver Valentin Martinez struck three concrete beams under the FM 2484 overpass going northbound on I-35. Beams fell on several vehicles in both northbound and southbound lanes, killing one man in a pickup truck. The red 1999 Volvo 940 driven by Martinez drove through the underpass unscathed.

An eight-page preliminary report released in late-April did not include the investigator’s narrative opinion of what happened that day. Only basic facts including a diagram of the final scene and driver and vehicle information were provided. The latest report reveals only that Martinez was “inattentive” and failed to heed warning signs.

Also included in the report was a detailed description of what happened during the crash. Investigator notes confirm what Land Line reported in April about the diagram in the preliminary report:

  • Martinez’s oversized load struck the overpass, allowing the tractor to pass through the bridge unharmed.
  • A 2015 Kenworth behind Martinez was severely damaged by falling beams; driver was injured.
  • A 2013 Ford F150 was wedged between the Kenworth and struck by a beam; driver was injured.
  • A C.R. England truck going southbound was struck with a beam; driver was injured.
  • A 2008 Ford F150 in front of the C.R. England truck was struck by a beam; driver was killed.

Texas Department of Public Safety Spokesperson Trooper Harpin Myers told Land Line that charges have yet to be filed. Law enforcement is still investigating the crash with the help of other agencies, construction companies and attorneys, according to Myers.

Related stories:
TxDOT releases eight-page report for bridge crash in Salado
Tractor-trailer strikes bridge in Texas, one person killed
Texas DPS: Flatbed responsible for Texas bridge incident
Texas DMV: Truck in Texas bridge crash did not have oversize permit

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