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TxDOT releases crash report of deadly oversized load collision on Highway 36

Posted at 9:33 AM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 10:33:07-04

TEMPLE, Texas (KXXV) — The crash report from the deadly oversized load collision that happened on Highway 36 on April 27 has been released by the Texas Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety.

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The report said the oversized load was larger than the allowable lane width and had to straddle both the east and westbound lanes on SH36. A Houston police motorcycle escort was traveling ahead of the convoy to direct eastbound traffic to pull to the side and stop for the incoming oversized load.

According to TxDOT's report, investigators said a driver of a Ford F-150 going eastbound on SH36 was "either distracted or inattentive," leading him to fail to notice warnings from vehicles escorting the oversized load going westbound on SH36.

There was a line of stopped vehicles in the eastbound lane. Investigators said the driver of the Ford F-150 failed to stop behind the line of vehicles and swerved into the westbound lane, where the oversized load was driving.

Investigators said driver of the oversized load took evasive action by applying brakes to avoid a collision.

The Ford F-150 then pulled to the right shoulder of the westbound lane and stopped, but investigators said this action partially blocked the westbound lane, forcing the oversized load to veer left.

The report said due to insufficient clearance between stopped traffic on the left, the driver of the oversized load was forced to brake and maneuver the convoy in between the Ford F-150 and a GMC among the stopped traffic in the eastbound lane.

By suddenly applying the brakes, investigators said the oversized load's cargo shifted forward and the momentum kept going as the trailers came to an abrupt stop.

Investigators said the chains holding the cargo snapped, causing the cargo to rotate right and fall off the trailer, landing on the Ford F-150.

The driver of the Ford F-150 became trapped—sustaining injuries, but is now in stable condition—but two passengers, 22-year-old Abigail Boatwright and 17-year-old Evan Boatwright, died.

The Temple Police Department are continuing an additional investigation and will release more information at a later time.

See the full crash report here (some personal information has been redacted):
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BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

A new report from TxDOT is detailing what led up to the deadly collision on Highway 36 in Temple last month.

After looking at dashcam footage and collecting witness statements, officials say that the driver of a Ford F-150 was either distracted or not paying attention when traveling towards a trailer carrying over 340,000 pounds of cargo.

Even after being flagged down by a Houston police officer — who was escorting the trailer — the driver of the truck swerved into the trailer's lane.

DPS says that's when the driver of the trailer tried to avoid the truck. After several attempts, the momentum from braking caused the trailer's load to slide forward before falling on top of the truck.

The driver of the truck became trapped and was later rescued, but the two passengers who were also inside the truck — later identified as 22-year-old Abigail Boatwright and 17-year-old Evan Boatwright were instantly killed by the weight of the load.