GRAND PRAIRIE — The driver of an 18-wheeler was killed Saturday afternoon when his big rig crashed through a guardrail of an overpass and landed on President George Bush Turnpike.
Investigators said the truck had been traveling westbound on Interstate 30 when it went off the highway, igniting a fire sending thick, black smoke into the air that could be seen for miles around.
"Witnesses indicated it just veered off, hit the embankment, and was unable to gain control," said Grand Prairie police Det. Lyle Gensler.
The accident halted traffic in all directions as emergency vehicles raced to the scene.
The trailer landed on both the northbound and southbound lanes of Bush Turnpike, also known as Highway 161. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Steve Grosso of Irving was coming back from a family lunch. He provided exclusive video and pictures to News 8 by walking down the hill several minutes after the accident occurred.
"You could feel the heat," he said. "My phone died because the phone got so hot.
Grosso said if it hadn't been for a wrong turn, he would have been on Bush Turnpike close to the time the truck toppled from I-30. He said he's counting his blessings.
"No one could've seen that coming," Grosso said. "There was just so much flame, you were wondering if truck was going to blow up and send shrapnel everywhere."
The identity of the dead truck driver was not released.
After the fire was extinguished, workers began the long process of removing the charred debris from the toll road.
At 7:20 p.m. Grand Prairie police tweeted that the westbound lanes of I-30 had two to three lanes open.
The North Texas Tollway Authority reopened Bush Turnpike overnight after new barriers were installed.