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Two oversize trucks hit same Texas bridge

Interstate 20 in Midland, Texas, was closed temporarily Thursday after the first accident

Two tractor-trailers carrying oversized loads hit the same Interstate 20 bridge in West Texas on Thursday afternoon. (Photo: Midland Police Department)

Two different tractor-trailers carrying oversized loads in West Texas struck the same bridge on Interstate 20 Thursday, forcing a temporary closure of the roadway.

One truck driver reportedly fled the scene of the accident, but was quickly caught, according to the Midland Police Department.

The first incident occurred at 3:09 p.m. Thursday, when a tractor-trailer carrying an oversized load traveling westbound on I-20 struck the Cotton Flat Road bridge.

Police said the driver, identified as Ray Hannah with Midland-based carrier 3S Westex Trucking and Transport, was stopped a short distance away from the accident site. The police report did not specify if Hannah fled on foot or in his truck.

Hannah was cited for over height and an overweight group of axles and received warnings for failure to secure heavy machinery, failure to secure load, as well as warnings for tire load exceeding the federal weight rating, gross weight over the allowance, tire size over the limit and striking the bridge.

Police had to shut down the outside westbound lane of I-20 at Cotton Flat Road for cleanup of debris from the bridge.

The I-20/Cotton Flat Road overpass in Midland, Texas, sustained damage after being struck by a tractor-trailer Thursday. (Photo: Midland Police Department)

While police were investigating the first crash, a second tractor-trailer carrying another oversized load struck the same bridge about 3:40 p.m. Thursday. 

The driver of that oversized load was identified as Bryan Niemtschk with Lightning Services. Niemtschk was cited for over height, failing to inspect emergency equipment warnings for striking the bridge and no warning devices.

The second accident caused minimal damage to the bridge and overpass, police said. Both trucks were placed on a federal out-of-service order.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Florida, Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]