San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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By MELISSA MILLECAM

State and city officials in San Marcos began the early hours this morning attempting to extricate an 18-wheeler from the San Marcos River, after the vehicle crashed through the guardrails on northbound I-35 and fell into the environmentally sensitive stream.

The East access road between Highway 123 and Highway 80 was closed and lanes on I-35 are will also likely have to be shut down.

At 2:23 a.m. Thursday, April 10, Sgt. Wade Parham of the San Marcos Police Department observed extensive damage to the guardrail on I-35 north at the river. Officers located a 1995 maroon Kenworth tractor trailer rig belonging to Ybarra Trucking of Laredo wedged underneath the bridge of the east access road of I-35. The truck destroyed 160 feet of guardrail on northbound I-35 before plunging into the river.

The cab of the truck was submerged up to its roof in the river, but the driver was able to escape without serious injury. The driver, identified as Kevin Joseph Tuttle (DOB 1/15/1967) of Lake Wales, Fla. was transported to Central Texas Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The San Marcos Police Department, San Marcos Fire Department, Hays County/San Marcos EMS, Texas Department of Transportation and the City of San Marcos Environmental Health Department responded to the scene to assist with the accident. The city has notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Due to the precarious positioning of the wrecked tractor trailer, divers will be needed to assist with the removal of the tractor trailer from the river. Because of the environmentally sensitive area, San Marcos Fire Rescue placed HAZMAT booms in the water just downriver of the accident scene and also further down river at Cape Road.

Officials do not know how long it will take to safely remove the vehicle from the river. Early this morning wreckers were awaiting daylight to assess the scene.

The trailer was carrying general merchandise, police said.

The San Marcos River is spring-fed from the Edwards Aquifer and supports eight endangered aquatic species. The location of the wreck is about a mile from the headwaters of the river.

Photos by Rudy Ramirez

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