DRAMATIC VIDEO: Semi driver pulled after truck falls 40 feet from Lufkin overpass


LUFKIN, Texas (KETK)- On Friday, Lufkin police released video which showed a semi-driver being rescued from his burning 18-wheeler.

Video from inside a patrol car including body cam video shows Officer Carter Willmon and Roger Ordaz risking their lives to pull the driver to safety.

The driver has been identified as Leslie Rodriguez, 60, of Edinburg, Texas. According to police, Rodriguez had somehow driven the tanker truck off a 40-foot flyover, breaking into two pieces.

Parts of the truck’s cab slammed into the southbound lanes, with the tanker falling onto the northbound lanes, bursting into flames.

According to police, when the officers approached the cab, they did not know what was inside the burning tanker. They took the risk and approached the cab to see if they could rescue the screaming, injured man.

With the help of both officers, Rodriguez was pulled to safety.

He is now recovering in a Tyler hospital and is expected to make a complete recovery.

Police are still investigating the crash.


7:20 A.M. -The U.S. 59 flyover has been reopened after an 18-wheeler fell off a flyover early Thursday morning.

Loop 287 from North Brentwood Drive to the U.S. 59 exit remains closed but is tentatively expected to reopen after 9 a.m.

The driver is in stable condition at a Tyler hospital with a fractured pelvis and clavicle.

6:12 A.M. – The driver is in stable condition at UT Health in Tyler, with his injuries being a fractured pelvis and clavicle. He will not be identified yet, pending family notification.

Officer Pebsworth with Lufkin police says that the truck fell more than 40 feet from the flyover. During the descent, the cab and the tanker separated.

The northbound flyover remains closed until a TxDOT crew from Austin makes inspections. Pebsworth said that the flyover suffered structural damage from the crash, so keep this in mind if you take this route to work

While only orange juice spilled, HAZMAT crews are on scene to offload the truck’s fuel tank.

LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) Loop 287 in Lufkin is closed after an 18-wheeler carrying orange juice went off of an overpass and landed on the road below.

According to Lufkin Police, the accident happened around 1:30 a.m. Thursday in the northbound lane of the flyover in front of South Loop Crossing and Lufkin Mall. The cab of the truck came to rest on the southbound side, while the tanker spilled into the northbound side. 

When police responded, two officers could hear the driver screaming for help from inside the mangled cab. They managed to pull him out, and the driver was airlifted to a Tyler hospital.

A small amount of smoke and fire was reported to be coming from the tanker. Lufkin Fire extinguished the flames.

Traffic is being rerouted. Officials are asking commuters to avoid the area. Injuries are unknown at this time. No one else was hurt in this accident.

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