One person is dead and another critically injured after an 18-wheeler drove off a bridge and burst into flames Thursday morning.

The wreck was reported about 7 a.m. at Interstate 10 and FM 725.

The truck was traveling eastbound near the 604 exit when a blowout caused the driver to veer off the road and into the center median, Seguin Police Community Engagement Officer Sarah Chilutti Wallace said.

It appears the semi crashed through the guardrail and went down the embankment onto FM 725, then back up the other side where it came to a stop. The truck and trailer soon became engulfed in flames, Wallace said.

The driver was able to get out of the truck and was airlifted to a San Antonio area hospital in critical condition, Wallace said. The passenger, who was later identified as Larry Cruz, 40, of Fullerton, California, was found dead in the cab. Police have not identified the driver.

Seguin police are investigating the wreck.

Seguin Fire Battalion Chief Tom Teboe said it took crews from several area agencies about 30 minutes to control the fire and clear the scene including McQueeney, Marion and New Berlin volunteer fire departments, Schertz EMS, Texas Department of Transportation, the Guadalupe County Fire Marshal’s Office, Guadalupe County Road and Bridge, Seguin Police Department and the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office.

Lack of easily accessible water made fighting the fire challenging, Teboe said.

“Water supply was a challenge,” he said. “We have hydrants that we can see, but if we lay a 5-inch hose line from there to the scene, we completely shutdown all of IH-10. We waited on volunteer agencies, who came in real quick, to make scene to keep the water supply going.”

Traffic traveling in both directions was diverted from the highway onto the access road at the FM 725 exit, while FM 725 was shut down, allowing crews to work safely and clean up the remains of the truck, trailer and its cargo.

This is the second fiery, fatal collision involving 18-wheelers in two weeks.

On Thursday, Aug. 26, a multi-vehicle crash spurred by another vehicle losing its cargo on the interstate claimed the lives of three men — two from San Antonio, one from Marion — and injuring several others including a Seguin police officer.

That wreck happened about 3 p.m. on I-10 at State Highway 123 Bypass when the driver of an 18-wheeler lost control after driving on the spilled cargo and crashed into the concrete barrier for the State Highway 123 Bypass overpass, police said. The cab of the truck hurled over the side of the bridge, but was still connected to the trailer, keeping it from landing on the road below.

That wreck caused a chain reaction that involved three other vehicles.

Felicia Frazar is the managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at felicia.frazar@seguingazette.com .

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