AUSTIN (KXAN) - A fiery wreck on Interstate 35 in South Austin stopped traffic for much of Tuesday afternoon after an 18-wheeler hit an embankment, killing the 50 year-old man driving.
Police said it happened at 11:31 a.m. Tuesday when the tractor trailer -- carrying boxes of window seals -- veered off the roadway and burst into flames after hitting a concrete support column of the Slaughter Creek overpass. Authorities did not say how fast the man was going.
The wreck sent thick, black smoke billowing into the sky in a stream that could be seen a mile away.
Police were investigating whether a second car, a small blue sedan, may have played a role in the wreck. Both the car and semitruck were towed from the scene.
Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Christopher Bishop said TxDOT engineers were sent out to check the integrity of the bridge, declared safe after nearly six hours.
It reopened, along with the northbound lanes of the interstate, at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday. Overnight, guardrail repairs were expected along the highway where the wreck happened, south of Slaughter Lane.
Investigators will not release the truck driver's name until they have notified family.
Meanwhile, no one else was hurt.
Similar incident involving bridge
In late July, a truck crashed into the Stassney Lane overpass on I-35 after it carried too tall of a load for the route the driver was taking.
The crash caused the overnight shutdown of part of the freeway.
Experts were called in to assess the damage and estimate repair costs -- up to $200,000 -- for the bridge that had minor concrete damage.
The trucking company had to pick up the tab.
Since 1995, there have been six accidents of a similar nature.
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