HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - An 18-wheeler accident that shut down Highway 290 southbound between Barker cypress and Cypress North Houston for most of the day Tuesday has been cleared and all lanes have reopened.
According to the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department, firefighters arrived to find the truck engulfed in flames at around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.
An investigator from the Harris County Sheriff's Office said the truck overturned and its fuel tanks ruptured after the driver veered right and hit a guardrail and a concrete barrier. An explosion followed.
The driver died at the scene, according to officials. A passenger was ejected and is expected to survive.
Sgt. S. Wolverton with the Harris County Sheriff's Office said the passenger had been in the sleeper cab at the time of the crash.
"He was ejected, however he had minor injuries," said Sgt. Wolverton. "He's got some burns on his arms. He said he tried to get back into the truck to pull the driver from truck. That was unsuccessful."
Wolverton said the accident was still under investigation, but one witness told investigators another vehicle that was in front of the semi may have swerved in front of the truck, causing the 18-wheeler to also veer to the right.
According to TxDOT, the lanes were expected to reopen around 2 p.m. Tuesday, but delays pushed back the time to shortly after 5 p.m.
In addition to clearing out the wreckage, Wolverston said crews will also have to clean up a fuel spill that resulted from the crash.
Wolverston said the driver and the passenger are both from Rockdale and were taking a load of apples to a farmer's market in the Houston area.
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