Texas Chain of Events Leaves Truck Driver Deadby Jana Ritter - Published: 7/27/2015
A tragic chain of events ended up killing a truck driver and seriously injuring three firefighters Sunday on Texas 183. It began around 3am when police and firefighters were on the scene responding to a major accident involving a GMC pick-up truck in the eastbound lanes of Texas 183 near Irving.
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According to Irving police officer, Stephen Burres, the GMC driver had fled the scene on foot after abandoning his vehicle and although officers eventually apprehended him down the road and arrested him on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the events did not end there. An aerial ladder fire truck had been at the scene helping to block traffic while a tow truck removed the wrecked pick-up. Then, an 18-wheeler semi-truck came along the eastbound lane driving at highway speed and smashed right into the back of the fire truck. The collision sent the fire truck spinning 180 degrees and caused it to roll over on the passenger side. Assistant Fire Chief Rusty Wilson reported that two firefighters had been sitting on the front bumper and a third was standing in front of them at the time of the collision. The cab of the semi-truck burst into flames shortly after impact and the truck driver, 55 year-old Ilian Lalev, was pronounced dead at the scene. While the incident is still being investigated, authorities believe the truck driver may have suffered some type of medical condition, which prevented him from being able to stop. “We don’t know if the driver managed to touch the brakes or not. We don’t know if the driver fell asleep or had a medical condition,” said officer Burres.
Miraculously, the firefighters survived the big truck’s blow but all were taken to hospital with injuries. One firefighter suffered a concussion and the two other firefighters had cuts and bruises. “The two on the front bumper were thrown off toward the service road,” Wilson said. “The third firefighter doesn’t remember much of what happened to him.” A patrol car had also been at the scene working the fatal wreck and was hit by yet another vehicle. Fortunately, the officer was not in the vehicle at the time but the patrol car was badly damaged and that second motorist was also arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Emergency crews spent the rest of Sunday morning removing the 18-wheeler and the fire truck off the highway. Other crews were also called in to remove fuel and transmission fluid from the eastbound lanes of Texas 183. The eastbound lanes and the service road of Texas 183 between Belt Line and Story roads were closed for the cleanup but re-opened Monday.