Big rig accident crushes car

April 9, 2009 3:47:17 PM PDT
There was a close call for a woman whose SUV was crushed on the Southwest Freeway Wednesday morning. [PHOTOS: See images from Thursday's close call]

The passenger side of her SUV was completely smashed by the shipping container just before 11am Thursday near Highway 59 and Highway 288. The woman was sent to the hospital, but doesn't appear to be seriously hurt.

The giant container on the back of a flatbed truck struck the overpass above, sending it flying off the truck onto the SUV below. The whole right side of the SUV was smashed in.

Somehow, the woman who was driving the mangled car, identified by family as Zoma Ramirez, escaped with her life.

"I think she's lucky," said Robert Weistloch, the woman's son-in-law. "Luckily it fell on the passenger's side."

The container, according to its owner, General Marine Leasing, was a portable galley, used for cooking offshore. It was being transported from Louisiana to Brownsville.

The company transporting that container, Dynasty Trucking, refused to comment about the accident. The owners of the container say this is the second time the company has damaged their vessels attempting to travel cross country.

According to General Marine, trucking companies must submit for a permit before hitting the roads, reporting their cargo heights to the Texas Department of Transportation. TxDOT then provides an approved route based on those height restrictions.

It's unclear if those procedures were followed in this case.

Houston police say the driver of the 18-wheeler will receive numerous tickets. TxDOT says it appears this truck was off-route. They say they don't typically issue permits for oversized loads inside the 610 Loop.

Family members say Ramirez often traveled the route along Highway 59 several times per week and often alone. Her relatives say she was undergoing a CT scan after the accident to see if she had any internal injuries.

This is the second time in two weeks that a driver escaped serious injury after her vehicle was crushed. The collision between two Houston fire trucks sent one of them rolling onto a car. The driver in that car was able to get out of the truck on her own, but says she still has lower body pain. In all 11 people were injured. Leigh Boone, who was hit by one of the trucks while riding her bike, is the only one left in the hospital. She is still listed in critical condition. The driver of one of the trucks was cited for failing to use due caution. He ran a red light and caused the accident.

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