Highway 103 East Fatal Accident - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

09/24/07 - Etoile

Highway 103 East Fatal Accident

by Tashun Chism

At the Etoile bridge this morning, officials spent hours working to clean up the scene of a fatal truck accident.

"It's just bad. It's one of the worst ones I've ever seen," said state trooper Bryan Henry.

Authorities say Richard Thompson of Diboll and Benito Gonzalez of Corrigan collided head on. Both men were killed instantly.

"It actually sounded like a bomb. I did some time in Iraq and Afghanistan and it sounded like a bomb that went off," said local store owner Tim Wise.

Thompson's truck was carrying logs and Gonzalez's truck was carrying wood chips. In addition to those, workers had to clean up pieces of wreckage and an estimated 200 gallons of diesel fuel. One reason officials rushed to clean up the fuel was to keep it from damaging the lake.

"The other reason we want to clean this up is to prevent any traction issues in case any more cars come by. It's real slick and there could be another accident," Hazmat worker Richard Lenius told us.

Authorities believe the accident was caused by early morning fog. Fellow truck drivers view this wreck as a fatal reminder that it's important to be cautious while driving.

"It only takes just a fraction of a second and something like this could happen," East Texas truck driver Darrell Owens said.

They also know that truck driving is a dangerous job that presents risks each time a driver gets behind the wheel.

"You can take all the precaution in the world and you could be driving and something like this could happen. It could be the other person and might not be your faults. It just happens," Owens added.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident.

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