COPY-Major Accident

A quick thinking truck driver averts a major traffic disaster and possibly saves lives in the process.

Truck driver Earl Gibson was returning home from work when the dump truck he was driving suddenly caught fire.  It's too early to tell, but Gibson suspects trouble with the engine.

Gibson was traveling a busy Highway 69 North of Lufkin near the Idlewood Subdivision.  He was carrying a front end loader on the back with traffic all around him.  He knew he had to take action.  He decided to pull the dump truck into the middle of Highway 69 in the turn lane.  He managed to get the front end loader off the back, call emergency 9-1-1 for help and route traffic around the, by then, fully engulfed dump truck.

One neighbor we spoke with said she was sleeping late when she heard what sounded like an explosion that shook all of the windows in her house.  When she went outside to investigate she said she saw Gibson on the phone talking to a 9-1-1 operator with his truck fully engulfed in flames behind him.

Firefighters from Central and Hudson rushed to the scene and were able to contain the fire before it reached the diesel gas tank.  The Texas Department of Transportation and the Angelina County Sheriff's office also responded to the accident to help with traffic control and make sure no hazardous materials were involved.

Gibson says the big question now is, "What caused the initial fire?"  He works for Bubba Loggins Contractors on the weekend.  They lost a dump truck, but Gibson's level thinking and quick actions helped control additional property loss and prevented any one from getting hurt.

Look for continuing coverage of this story on the East Texas News and on as more information becomes available.