Multi-vehicle wreck stalls I-10 traffic Thursday

Published 4:27 pm Friday, May 22, 2015

BEAUMONT — A collision involving five automobiles and a big rig closed Interstate 10 for a couple of hours Thursday.

For the second time in two weeks, a wreck closed Interstate 10 West for an extended period of time and sent traffic stretching for miles back into Orange County.
According to information from the Texas Department of Public Safety, normal traffic congestion was reported on Interstate 10 at approximately 4:15 p.m., Thursday when the driver of a 2012 Ford truck struck some stopped vehicles as he crested the top of the Purple Heart Memorial Bridge (Neches River Bridge) heading into Beaumont. The collision cause a chain reaction crash.
The driver of the Ford truck was Ray Garza, a 26-year-old man from Orange. Garza was uninjured. Although no one was transported by ambulance to area hospitals, several occupants of the vehicles, including two children, were taken to Beaumont-area hospitals by private vehicles with minor injuries.
Both lanes of Interstate 10 West, along with one lane of the eastbound lanes, were closed for approximately two hours so emergency personnel could clear wreckage from the scene and clean-up a diesel spill from the tractor trailer involved in the wreck.
Traffic was backed up more than six miles through Vidor, stretching passed FM 1132 on the east side of Vidor towards Orange. The emergency detour signs, utilized by the Texas Department of Transportation, which signal motorists to use FM 105 as an alternate traffic route and to “detour when flashing” were not on following the wreck, even when traffic was nearing FM 1132. A call to the Texas Department of Transportation on Friday afternoon was not immediately returned.
All lanes re-opened at approximately 6 p.m., Thursday, but traffic moved at a snail’s pace for some time throughout the early evening.