Driver survives horrendous crash
Ark. man in fair condition after truck wreck on I-30
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Aug. 24, 2006 -- An Arkansas man remained in the intensive care unit at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler for injuries he sustained after his truck and tanker trailer overturned on Interstate 30 in Brinker Wednesday afternoon.

Ricky Caldwell, 49, was said to be in “fair condition” in the ICU at the Tyler hospital, where he was taken after being airlifted from the crash scene.

The crash resulted in the closure of one lane of the interstate and the north service road while authorities worked at the scene.

According to officers’ reports, the truck-tractor trailer was traveling west on I-30 when the truck’s tires went off the right side of the road onto the gravel. As he was attempting to steer the unit back onto the road, the trailer hit the incline at the edge of the road. Caldwell lost control of the vehicle, and it overturned.  The trailer separated from the truck during the crash, landing in the right-hand lane. But the truck continued on, crossing the center median, ripping the top and driver’s side off the cab, before coming to a rest at the edge of the north service road, according to state troopers.

Brinker and Hopkins County firefighters were dispatched at 3 p.m. to the  rollover. The trailer obstructed one lane of traffic on I-30 west just west of the FM 69 exit, the truck halted travel on the north service road. When firefigters arrived, the driver was still trapped in the wreckage.

Hopkins County firefighters pulled him out. An medical helicopter was dispatched around 3:19 p.m. so he could be checked at a trauma center for what were thought to be non-life threatening injuries. Ambulance personnel treated the man until the Life Star helicopter arrived at 3:35 p.m. The patient was then transferred to the helicopter and flown to Tyler due to the trauma sustained to his upper body during the crash.

Sheriff’s deputies assisted troopers in controlling traffic and investigating the crash. Firefighters also assisted with traffic control and stayed with the overturned vehicle to oversee removal of the wreckage. Texas Department of Transportation workers also assisted with traffic direction.

The interstate was shut down for about an hour while the helicopter landed and while the trailer was being uplifted and removed. The interstate was reopened at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, the north service road from the westbound exit beyond the crash scene continued to be closed to traffic until 5 p.m. Removal of the wrecked truck was hampered by the cluster of thunderstorms which blew into the county just after 3:45 p.m.

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