Truck Driver Killed in 18-Wheeler Accident on FM 147 in Falls County, TX
Falls County, TX -- November 21, 2021, a truck driver was killed when his 18-wheeler crashed and leaked ammonia off Farm to Market Road 147 in Falls County.
Authorities say the incident happened shortly before 1:00 p.m. in the area of FM 147 and FM 1240. Preliminary investigation suggests only that a tanker truck was passing through the area when the driver lost control for unknown reasons. The truck ran off the road and crashed into some trees; a tree branch reportedly breached the chemical tank on its trailer and a large quantity of anhydrous ammonia, a lethal gas, leaked into the surrounding area.
The truck driver died of exposure to the gas. Falls County officials and hazmat crews worked to clear the area of the remaining ammonia; several houses downwind were temporarily evacuated but most residents have since been allowed to return to their homes.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Fatal Truck Accident on FM 147 in Falls County
When a truck crashes like this it rings some warning bells, but that doesn't mean it's ever safe to prematurely decide what happened. Folks may be quick to assume the driver was traveling at high speeds or using his phone when he lost control, and those are common factors that warrant attention. But when the series of events is so sudden and so devastating, I can't help wondering if something else--something possibly overlooked in preliminary investigations--might have contributed. Did the truck's brakes give out? Was there a problem with its alignment or steering? Could it have blown a tire? Did the driver suffer a medical emergency? Was he cut off by another vehicle and forced to swerve?
When seeking answers about the accident it seems like the tank should also receive some scrutiny. It sounds from reports as though the ammonia gas was contained as well as any other hazardous material could be within the trailer and contact with a tree branch simply penetrated the tank. There may not be anything further to that, though an audit should be conducted to be sure the tank trailer was in good shape.
It's important to look at any and all variables considering the lethal nature of the trailer's contents. No stone should be left unturned in any situation where a neighborhood had to be evacuated, and the right parties should be held accountable. If authorities don't have the right tools and experience, my concern is they may ignore important details in search of a common explanation. Are steps being taken to consider every potential factor of this tragic wreck?