HICO, TX — Two people are dead after three semi-trucks collided on US 281 north of Hico on Wednesday morning, said a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) spokesperson.
Around 9 a.m., officials responded to the site of the three-vehicle crash on US 281 about 1.5 miles north of Hico.
According to officials, a Volvo semi-truck was headed northbound and a Freightliner semi-truck was headed southbound. Another Mack semi-truck was behind the Freightliner headed southbound. The driver of the Volvo semi-truck crossed onto the wrong side of the roadway and into the path of the Freightliner semi-truck headed southbound. "The two vehicles collided head-on," said officials.
Then, the driver of the 18-wheeler who was behind the driver of the Freightliner semi-truck and also headed southbound tried to take evasive action, but he could not avoid hitting the other two semi-trucks. "The first two trucks that had collided then caught fire and burned as a result of the collision," said officials.
The driver of the Volvo, identified as James Crabtree, 33, of San Antonio, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of Freightliner, identified as Ronald Ross, 59, of Millsap, was also pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Mack Semi-truck, Elmer Saling, 66 of Lawn, was not injured.
Officials say next of kin have all been notified. The crash has now beeen cleared and the roadway is expected to reopen Wednesday evening by 11 p.m.
"The Texas DPS urges all drivers to avoid distracted, fatigue and impaired driving," said TX DPS in a statement. "These are among the top factors contributing to fatal crashes across our state."