AUSTIN (KXAN) — A gravel truck’s crash into a busy RM 2222 intersection on Friday, Feb. 26 was the result of brake failure, according to a crash report, Monday.
Glen Bandel says his wife was driving on Jester Boulevard when the dash camera in the car captured the gravel truck barreling down Jester Boulevard and into a Honda waiting to turn at the red light. The truck then moved through the intersection and clipped several more vehicles before it went off the bridge.
“It shot by like a rocket, it was literally just a flash of red that went by and I heard the whiz,” said Cookie Bandel. “I think I just kind of went into a little bit of shock or something because it was just like, ‘Is this really happening?”
Bandel was on her way to play tennis just before 9 a.m. on Friday. She passed a red dump truck carrying gravel in her neighborhood.
“We waved, he waved me by and I acknowledged him and he was looking out,” said Bandel as she drove by the dump truck and down a steep hill.
“It seemed obvious that there was something, some problem because he pulled over and the truck was bouncing,” explained Bandel who believed the driver was having brake issues.
She said she didn’t think anything of what she saw at the top of the hill until two minutes later while sitting at a red light on Jester Blvd and 2222. “That day was just really, it’s still scary and I can’t believe I was that close to something so horrific,” said Bandel.
The dump truck plowed through the car next to hers, went through the intersection, and off a bridge, plunging about 20 feet into a creek bed.
“I pulled over and I was thinking, ‘Where’s my CPR kit? Where is everything?’ I went and grabbed it and as I was walking over I heard the sirens and I don’t remember when I went, ‘Oh My Gosh’ and as I was looking at it I knew the dash cam captured it. I flagged down a police officer and told him I believe I have the whole thing recorded.”
Bandel said she and other drivers ran over to help the people involved in the crash. She said three men jumped into the creek bed and pulled the driver out before the cab caught on fire.
Four people had non-life threatening injuries in the crash; the driver of the silver Honda said he had a concussion according to a family member.
“I think that’s what’s amazing about this whole thing we all had a little guardian angel on our shoulders that day,” said Bandel.
Her husband said he installed the dash camera video in his wife’s car as a safety measure in case she ever got in a wreck or something else happened. “I’ve got a second one and I’ll be installing it today. My second car will have it, I see the value now,” said Glen
Friday, the owner of the gravel truck, Marco Franco, said his driver was delivering a load from Georgetown to a location on Jester Boulevard when the crash happened. Franco says he doesn’t know what might have caused the crash, but said he personally checks the truck’s lights, brakes, water and oil every week.
The U.S. Department records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show Franco’s Trucking had a number of violations between Dec. 2014 and Aug. 2015. Some of those violations include inoperative head lamps, tail lamp, turn signal, operating a commercial motor vehicle without proof of a periodic inspection, oil and or grease leak.
The truck was also involved in a crash on Aug. 21, 2015, but no there were no injuries.
KXAN reached out to the trucking company Monday, but have yet to hear back.
Austin police are still investigating the incident, and say other factors may have contributed to the crash.