TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A multi-vehicle crash, started by a horse trailer going off the roadway, leaves an East Texas interstate shut down for hours, causing a traffic backup for miles.
It happened around 9:25 Saturday morning when multiple vehicles collided near the 578 mile marker of Westbound I-20, at the Smith-Gregg county line.
18 wheelers, motorcycles, and cars were all part of what state troopers say was miraculous that no lives were lost.
It was a scene that looked as if a bomb had gone off on the highway. Cars, motorcycles, pickups, 18-wheelers all involved.
“I just thought the way the driver hit us especially on the side of the fuel tank, praying to the Lord that fuel tank don’t explode,” said Bradley Capps, who’s 18-wheeler was one of the vehicles damaged.
A chain reaction started when a truck pulling a horse trailer slid off the road, causing the wrecks behind it.
“Slowing down then all of the sudden just feel the impact. 18-wheeler just came along a side of us,” said one motorist who’s car was hit.
The most frightening moment came from behind for the motorists who were hit.
Sherry and Bradley Capps were driving their rig to Dallas when she saw in her mirror a speeding 18-wheeler coming right at them. She made a split second decision.
“All of the sudden an 18-wheeler tanker come headed right towards us like he didn’t have any brakes. I took the rig to the right, in the ditch if need be to avoid people getting killed,” Sherry says.
That move may have save the lives of other motorists, as the tanker barreled between vehicles and into the embankment.
Remarkably no one suffered anything more than minor injuries.
A massive backup of around six miles, forced troopers to divert westbound traffic off at Joy Wright mountain road.
The experience left many with a sobering thought.
“At any time something can happen. We’re all healthy, we’re safe,” said one motorist.
According to fire personnel on scene, none of the horses in the trailer were injured.
The Westbound lanes of I-20 were open again just before 2 Saturday afternoon after being closed for almost 5 hours.
In addition to the DPS troopers, Smith County Sheriff’s Office deputies and firefighters from several area fire departments assisted at the scene.