FORT WORTH, Texas A Washington state man was identified as the wrong-way driver of a car that slammed into a tanker on a Texas highway Monday morning, setting off a massive explosion that killed the truck driver.
Fort Worth police said they have charged the alleged wrong-way driver Louis Nieves, 23 with intoxication manslaughter. He is behind bars at the Fort Worth jail after being treated at the hospital for his injuries.
Police said Nieves was driving a small red pickup truck eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-30 at Beach Street at about 2:30 a.m. when he slammed into a gasoline tanker.
Minutes after police started getting frantic 911 calls about the wrong-way driver, officers said Nieves hit Alejandro Raya's tanker truck.
Flames consumed the cab of the 18-wheeler. Raya, 45, was unable to escape. He leaves behind three children.
Nieves told news reporters in Dallas that he drank about 10 beers before the crash.
Well, I'm really sorry, said Nieves. I know I committed an accident, a real bad accident...I feel sorry for that family that lost that person.
He admitted to a night of heavy drinking, and said from his jail cell he doesn't remember the crash, but he'll never forget the aftermath.
Raya's brother said the trucker had phoned his wife around midnight to say he had just a couple more deliveries.
Hazardous materials teams worked to contain the gasoline, while TxDOT crews arrived to investigate the stability and safety of I-30 westbound lanes.
The crash and explosion has closed I-30 for much of the day. The Texas Department of Transportation said several lanes of traffic sustained damage and must undergo extensive reapirs.