3 Vehicle Wreck Shuts Down Highway 69 - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/1/06-Lindale

3 Vehicle Wreck Shuts Down Highway 69

The driver of an SUV was headed north on Highway 69 when he stopped to turn left. He was returning to work at the Lindale Auto Glass Shop. The drivers boss, Tommy Kirk, saw the accident and says the truck behind his employees was carrying a fully loaded trailer and wasn't able to stop.

"I heard skid marks, and I jumped over the fence, and this truck was swerving to the right to miss him.  It clipped the rear end of the vehicle, and slid out of control," says Kirk.

Witnesses say after the pick-up truck clipped the SUV, it crossed into oncoming traffic and was broadsided by a mail truck. The engine then burst into flames, and onlookers rushed to help.

Kirk says, "We just put it out because there was a lot of diesel and gas spilling out and we didn't need it to get out of control."

Graham Lyons tried to help get victims out of the cars before EMS crews arrived.

"The guy that was sitting in the back passenger seat, he was torn up pretty badly. He was messed up. We could tell. The other two guys, they seemed in decent shape," say Lyons.

Once they were on the scene, EMS crews loaded up all six of the people involved, taking them to local hospitals. At least one person had to be careflighted out. Tommy Kirk spoke with one of his employees just before he was taken away.

"The rear passenger, the frame came up into the backseat and got him pretty bad. I'm really worried about him," says Kirk.

Debris from the accident was tossed all over the road, and crews worked feverishly to get it cleaned up.

DPS troopers say because of the complexity of the accident, it could take them months to finish their investigation.

The store owner says there have been a number of accidents in front of his shop as people try to make left hand turns. He says that's because it's only two lanes.

Construction is underway to widen Highway 69 from Mineola south to Lindale, but that project will not be finished until the Fall of 2009.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

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