A Chico woman died Wednesday evening when her car ran underneath an 18-wheeler on Texas 101, just south of Chico.
Maria Ruiz-Quezada, 52, was northbound in a Toyota Corolla on 101 about 6 p.m. when a 3 J Trucking tractor-trailer pulled out in front of her as it left Blue Star Materials. The truck was driven by Johnny Hothouse, 49, of Chico.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Jeff Johnson said Ruiz-Quezada took evasive action to avoid a collision, swerving to the right side of the road, but hit gravel along the side of 101, lost control of the vehicle and spun into the southbound lanes.
As her car entered the other lane of traffic, she hit a southbound Cowtown truck, and her car became lodged underneath the fourth axle of the 18-wheeler. The truck, driven by Ruiz Segundo, 54, of Fort Worth, dragged the car “a couple hundred feet,” according to Johnson.
Ruiz-Quezada was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Jan Morrow. Her service is pending at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport.
Maria Anita Garcia worked with Ruiz-Quezada in the kitchen at Rock City Burger Co. in Bridgeport for three years and said she was a kind, helpful person.
“She couldn’t hear about anyone being in need because if she did, she’d call up all her friends and plan a way to help,” Garcia said. “She’d help collect money or plan a meal and have everyone pray for that person.”
Ruiz-Quezada was a “wonderful wife and mother,” according to Garcia, and “always talked about how much she loved her husband and sons.”
Garcia said if Ruiz-Quezada couldn’t make it to work, she would send one of her sons to help.
“But she rarely missed,” she said. “She would insist that I go to Mexico to visit family, telling me that she had it under control. She was such a hard worker.”
Seven DPS troopers were called to the accident scene Wednesday night, as well as Chico Fire Department. Segundo, the Cowtown truck driver, was transported to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur by Medic 2, but Trooper Patrick Alonzo said he did not appear to be seriously injured. Hothouse was not injured.
An account has been set up at First State Bank in Maria Ruiz-Quezada’s name to assist the family with funeral expenses. Donations may be made at locations in Chico, Bridgeport or Runaway Bay.
Maria Anita Garcia’s quotes were translated from Spanish to English.