RICE - One driver was transported to a Dallas hospital after a convoy truck struck a tractor-trailer, spurring a hazardous chemical concern and traffic backup for miles on Interstate 45 in Rice.
According to Trooper Brad Fulton, the tractor-trailer rig hit the convoy truck from behind at about 11:30 a.m. as it followed the truck to protect workers striping the interstate with yellow paint. The crash spilled yellow paint onto the roadway and 10 of 12 containers labeled as hazardous on the tractor-trailer were ruptured.
Jerry William Glenn, a 49-year-old Aledo resident who was driving the rig, was transported to Baylor Hospital in Dallas in critical condition. The other driver and workers striping the roadway were not injured.
Baylor Hospital briefly shut down their ER as they cleared an area to decontaminate Glenn as a precaution and treat the patient.
A HazMat team was called to the scene and it was determined that the containers labeled hazardous were actually carrying aluminum chlorohydrate, a non-hazardous chemical used to purify water and found in deodorants, according to Jason Evans, a spokesman with Dallas Fire-Rescue.
Safety is our highest priority and we are working in full cooperation with local and state police, read a statement from Curtis Carr, vice president of safety and risk management for Estes Express Lines, the owner of the tractor-trailer rig. Since this is a matter of ongoing investigation, we are not at liberty to further discuss any details involving the accident.
Northbound Interstate 45 was closed as crews worked to clear the scene south of Ennis and north of Corsicana.
According to TxDOT, southbound lanes at I-45 have been closed six miles north of SH 31 and two miles south of FM 1623.
This includes the frontage roads, entrances and exits for a one mile stretch within those limits, the statement read.
The southbound lanes were temporarily shut down as well reopened a short time later.
TxDOT said northbound traffic is currently being redirected:
Motorists will be directed to exit I-45 at Bus I-45 and will be directed by DPS officers with the assistance of TxDOT to the southbound frontage road where troopers will continue to direct them to the Fortson Road overpass, north of Corsicana, back to the northbound frontage road to I-45 northbound.
Northbound lanes on I-45 were re-opened at about 5:20 p.m.
WFAA's Rebecca Lopez contributed to this report