New details in fiery fatal wreck on Highway 59

July 20, 2011 4:38:55 PM PDT
We're learning new details about Tuesday's fiery multiple vehicle accident on Highway 59 near the Grand Parkway that ended with one woman dead and the road shut down for hours. The chain-reaction wreck happened at around 5:30pm on the southbound lanes of the highway. Witnesses report seeing flames and hearing explosions after the wreck.

Seven vehicles -- including a big rig -- were involved in the initial accident. There was a second accident involving two vehicles, which police say resulted from drivers trying to avoid the first wreck.

According to Sugar Land police, the driver of the 18-wheeler couldn't control the speed of the big rig and hit vehicles that were either stopped or slowing down. The rig hit a Lincoln driven by Doris Walters, 66, of Pasadena, causing the chain reaction wreck.

The Lincoln caught fire, say investigators, and then spread to a pickup truck and the big rig.

Walters was killed in the accident. Another person was transported to a hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the 18-wheeler was uninjured.

The tanker was empty, officials say.

The freeway was shut down until shortly before midnight so crews could clear the scene; traffic was diverted onto the feeder road, making the commute frustrating for some drivers.

"Thirty minutes when it usually takes five minutes. But I was stuck in it a long time. It was just stop and go the whole time," driver Shaelynn O'Connor said.

The accident remains under investigation. So far, no citations have been issued.