Third deadly wreck along stretch of I-35 - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


Third deadly wreck along stretch of I-35


A series of deadly wrecks along a stretch of Interstate 35 is catching the attention of TxDOT, the Department of Public Safety and truck drivers.

Since mid-Sept., there have been three fatal accidents on I-35 just north of Waco. The latest accident occurred after 12:30 a.m. Thursday on the southbound side of I-35 at the 345 mile marker near Elm Mott. State troopers say a semi-truck carrying liquid eggs came barreling down the interstate while a construction crew worked to pick debris off the roadway.

"The convoy was on the outside shoulder. It had all it's lights on, and it had an arrow stick on telling everybody to move to the left lane," described Trooper D.L. Wilson.

Wilson said the semi-truck crashed into a safety vehicle ahead of the construction crew. The force of the crash sent the safety truck into the group of construction workers.

One worker, Josh McGowan, 41, was killed and two others were critically injured. One of the construction workers lost a leg and was airlifted to Scott & White Hospital. The driver of the semi-truck also received a few minor injuries.

TxDOT Spokesman Ken Roberts said the work zone near Elm Mott is no different than the more than 50 miles worth of work zones along the interstate. Still, he said TxDOT would continue to investigate Thursday's accident in addition to recent wrecks in the area.

"We have to dig into this and see if there's anything that we can do," said Roberts.

That might include evaluating safety guidelines and safety devices used in work zones. However, Roberts said drivers need to remain vigilant and alert on the roadways, especially truck drivers.

"The commonality has been late night, early morning [accidents] when drivers have been on the road for quite some time," said Roberts.

Veteran truck driver, Art White II, agreed. White values his sleep just as he does his paycheck. He admitted accidents happen when drivers push themselves to the limit.

"[Tired drivers] are not paying attention to what's going on," said White. "They're worried about that God Almighty dollar. That's the bottom line."

White suggested keeping a check of hours spent behind the wheel is key to safety on the roads. White is required to use an electronic log that monitors his time behind the wheel.

"Since I went on the electronic log, my health is getting better," said White. "I'm getting plenty of rest and I'm not mad all the time," he chuckled.

TxDOT and D.P.S. representatives met Thursday morning to discuss how they might work together to improve safety on I-35. In the meantime, they called for drivers to take extra precautions in work zones.

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