Girl killed, mother hurt by debris after truck crashes into bridge in Sealy

Second child, sitting in backseat, escapes wreckage

SEALY, Texas - A girl died and her mother was injured Thursday morning after a truck crashed into an Old Highway 90 bridge, causing debris to fall on top their car on Highway 36, according to Sealy police. 

Investigators said a Texas Disposal Services truck with its boom in a raised position was traveling down Highway 36  around 10 a.m. when it hit an overpass on Old Highway 90.

The rubble from the crash fell onto Highway 36, where a mother was driving north with her two children -- one child sitting in the front passenger seat, the other in the back — inside a white-colored car.

[VIEWER VIDEO: Deadly bridge collapse in Sealy]

Investigators said the front part of  the vehicle was crushed. The girl, identified as 12-year-old Brein Bullock, was sitting in the front seat and her mother was driving, officials said.

The woman, identified as 35-year-old Leah Bullock, was flown in critical condition to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Katy, according to Sealy City Manager Larry Kuciemba.

[PHOTOS: Child killed, mother injured in deadly Sealy bridge collapse]

Police said the other child, 9-year-old Breanbon Gardner,  was able to escape from the back seat of the car. He appeared to be OK and was released to family members. The family lives in Eagle Lake, police said.

Sealy Police Chief Chris Noble said there is a warning system in place to alert trucks of the height of the bridge.

"There is a wire that is suspended across the street with metal tubes or cylinders that hang down. There's a huge sign that says if you hit this, you are going to hit the bridge," Noble said.

[VIDEO OF THE WARNING SYSTEM]

Noble said witnesses driving behind the truck saw the truck hit the cylinders and keep going. They were filming the incident with a GoPro camera, but police said they are not releasing the video.

Sky 2 showed the roof of Bullock's vehicle was completely removed, possibly by authorities.

All Highway 36 lanes in both directions were shut down as emergency crews flooded the area.

The highway is expected to be open Friday afternoon.

Crews are currently working to make US 90 a one-lane bridge with temporary traffic signals. It is expected to be ready in the next few work days.

Noble said they are treating the case as a homicide investigation "because of the nature of the circumstances... that part of the truck was suspended when it should've been down."

The truck driver, identified as 72-year-old Carl Weige, was taken to the hospital. His condition is unknown.

Sealy Mayor Mark Stolarski said the bridge was hit once before, about a year and a half ago.

The Texas Department of Transportation said the bridge was replaced after that strike, and was last inspected in April 2015. TxDOT is investigating.

[READ MORE: CHANNEL 2 INVESTIGATES THE TRUCK COMPANY]

Veronica Beyer with TxDOT said the bridge was scheduled to find a contractor in September in order to be elevated. Noble said Highway 36 was going to be elevated to avoid street flooding, and therefore the bridge was also going to be elevated.

Texas Disposal Systems released a statement to KPRC 2 that read, "We regret a TDS truck was involved in an incident impacting an overpass in Sealy, TX. We have been told there was a fatality and are saddened by the loss resulting from this incident. Our deepest sympathies go to the family-members and friends. An investigation is currently underway by local authorities. TDS is cooperating fully and will also be conducting its own investigation.  The truck driver, as reported to us did not sustain major injuries.  We will be in communication with the community and public as relevant information becomes available."

The Austin County Sheriff's Office was also on the scene helping with the investigation and rescue.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family.

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