Cole was driving a 2013 Kenworth Tractor 18-wheeler with a tow trailer loaded with heavy equipment when he T-boned Treviño’s Kenworth Tractor 18-wheeler loaded with an estimated 150-190 barrels of oil, according to Calliham Fire Chief Will McBee.
Cole also collided with Roberto Alanis Ochoa of Mission who was heading west on Highway 72 in a 2005 Chevy pickup. Ochoa was not injured.
Cole died at the scene, and Treviño was air-lifted to the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Treviño was still in the burn ICU as of Friday afternoon.
Fire crews from Calliham, Tilden, Cotulla and Charlotte responded to the call at about 2 p.m. and arrived on scene about 15 minutes later.
“Both trucks were fully engulfed in flames,” Tilden Fire Chief Jason Cooper said. “The tanker trailer was on its side, unhooked from the truck, and everything was engulfed in flames.”
Cooper said the smoke was visible from Tilden, approximately 16-17 miles away from the incident.
McBee said the fire crews let the oil burn itself out rather than try to extinguish it immediately. The estimated 6,000-8,000 gallons of oil took about one hour to burn. Burning it let the crews keep the hydrocarbons from getting into the Frio River, which was less than a half-mile from the scene.
“If we put it out early, we would have had to deal with the hazardous material,” Cooper said.
McBee said Three Rivers Volunteer Fire Department’s Chief Bobby Joe Stewart offered assistance while talking to him as he was en route to the scene even though it was past the McMullen County line into LaSalle.
“We are blessed to have such cooperating neighboring departments that are willing to help out at any given time,” McBee said.
The roads weren’t open to traffic until about 8:30-9 p.m., according to Roger Sorrelle of the McMullen County Sheriff’s Departmen