TYLER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A 58-year-old Jasper man died after his 18-wheeled gas tanker rolled over and caught fire in Tyler County community of Hillister early Friday morning.
Burtis Woods died around 5:15 a.m. Friday morning. According to Department of Public Safety Sgt. Steve Holloway, Woods left Beaumont around 4 a.m. Friday and was headed northbound on US Highway 69 to Woodville. Around 5 a.m., his truck left the roadway in a curve at the intersection of US 69 and FM 1013 and overturned.
"As the truck left the highway, it appeared that he was trying to get back on the road, and the tanker/trailer jackknifed and struck a utility pole and then hit another embankment and rolled over," Holloway said.
As the truck rolled over, it was engulfed in flames that were higher than the nearby trees.
"We don't know what caused it to ignite; obviously the tank ruptured and gas spilt on the ground, and it ignited and ended up right there," Holloway said. "The driver of the vehicle was killed."
Very little of the 18-wheeled gas tanker was left after the massive fire. All that was recognizable was the truck's steel frame, the wheel rims, and bits of the trailer's tank.
The fire caused damage to a nearby house owned by an 81-year-old Tyler County woman, who was asleep on her couch at the time of the crash. She was taken to a nearby hospital, but her daughter said she was not hurt.
DPS troopers spent most of the day clearing the scene in Hillister. One lane of traffic on US 69 remained closed until about 3 p.m.
"Right now of course we've got wreckers picking up the debris, and we're doing a scale diagram of the crash scene," Holloway said. "It's still under investigation."
Woods was a driver for Bill Dover Exxon in Jasper and was delivering thousands of gallons of diesel and gas. ADPS official stated Woods had been working for Dover Exxon for many years.