Fiery crash destroys truck, but no one critically injured
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Sept. 29, 2004 -- Southbound traffic on State Highway 19 south was halted for more than an hour Wednesday morning after a Mercury Cougar and a tractor-trailer rig burst into flames following a head-on collision at the intersection of FM 1567.

The 48-year-old Bogata man driving the car was transported by ambulance to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for head trauma. The driver of the diesel truck was forced to bail out of the cab of his rig, which according to witnesses burst into flames after impact.

The J.B. Hunt truck was traveling from Hugo, Okla., with a trailer of toilet paper, headed south on State Highway 19 near FM 1567 just before 8 a.m. According to the truck driver and Texas Department of Public Safety officers, the northbound Cougar crossed into the southbound lane in front of the truck. The truck driver said he took evasive action by steering the tractor trailer into the northbound lane, at which point the Mercury moved into the northbound lane, colliding head-on with the cab of the truck.

The impact forced the car into the ditch on the west side of the road. The truck crossed the northbound lane and ended up in the ditch behind a row of mailboxes.

Personnel and customers at the convenience store on the property just behind the wreck reported hearing an explosion and stated that the truck appeared to burst into flames as the driver was jumping out of the vehicle. Aside from being shaken up by the wreck, the truck driver suffered no injuries.

When Emergency Medical Services personnel arrived at the scene the front end and front passenger side of the smoking car were smashed in, but they were able to help the Bogata man, who was conscious, out the driver's side door of his car. He was taken to HCMH for treatment of head trauma, which according to witnesses included cuts across his nose and forehead. The Bogata man's injuries were not believed to be critical, and he is expected to make a full recovery.

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