Dust billowing from a lost load of gravel on U.S. 81/287 at the south county line Thursday afternoon caused a two-vehicle accident, injuring an Oklahoma woman.
Teresa Humphrey, 37, was traveling southbound on 287 south of Rhome about 3 p.m. in a small sports utility vehicle when she drove into a thick cloud of dust. It was rising from gravel dropped in the highway and severely reduced visibility.
Department of Public Safety Trooper William Wallace said Humphrey panicked and stopped on the center line of the roadway. He said she was then hit from behind by an 18-wheeler driven by Ruben Guerra, 49, of Baytown.
“I saw the cloud going up and started downshifting,” Guerra said. “I just held on and hit the brakes as hard as I could.”
Guerra, who drives for Strike, said he was traveling in the lefthand lane, and Humphrey was straddling the center line. He said another vehicle had pulled over on the left side of the road, so he was unable to swerve that direction, and there was also a vehicle in the lane to his right.
The impact pushed Humphrey’s vehicle across the center median and the northbound lanes. It came to rest just off the shoulder on the northbound side.
Guerra was uninjured, but Humphrey was transported via ground ambulance by Wise County medics to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Wallace said her injuries were not life threatening, and as of Friday morning, she was no longer listed as a JPS patient.
She had one passenger, John Humphrey, 38, also of Oklahoma, and he was not injured.
Wallace said it was unknown who spilled the gravel. It was reported as a road hazard to Wise County dispatch at 2:52 p.m., and the accident occurred just a few minutes later.
Traffic was reduced to one lane at the accident scene for at least an hour. Texas Department of Transportation arrived to clean up the rock at 4:07 p.m.
Other agencies responding included the Wise County Sheriff’s Department, Rhome Police Department and Rhome Fire Department.