Official Report Identifies the Dead in Irion County Semi-Truck Collision


The Texas Department of Public Safety released the report of their investigation of the crash of two semi-trucks in Irion County. The crash happened just before 10:51 a.m. on Texas Highway 163, about 12 miles north of Barnhart.

A Peterbilt truck tractor pulling a flatbed semi-trailer with 12 large wooden planks was traveling from Big Lake to a location on F.M. 2469, just off TX-163. The plank hauler was stopped on the east shoulder of Highway TX-163 initially.

Meanwhile, another Peterbilt truck tractor pulling a tank semi-trailer loaded with crude oil was traveling northbound from Barnhart to Robert Lee on TX-163.

About the time the crude oil hauler was approaching the intersection of F.M. 2469, the plank hauler initiated a U-turn across both lanes of the roadway of TX-163.  The crude oil hauler was traveling at a highway speed and attempted to stop, but could not in time. So, the driver of the crude oil truck steered his rig to the left in an attempt to avoid a collision. It was too late. The crude oil hauler slammed into the driver’s side of the cab of the plank hauler. The impact caused the crude oil hauler to roll over onto the passenger side. The oil tanker truck came to rest facing northeast after striking a fence located on the west side of the roadway.

The plank hauler came to rest upright on the west shoulder of the road with its semi-trailer blocking the southbound lane of TX-163.

Both semis caught fire and burned as a result of the crash.

The drivers of both rigs were killed in the crash. The passenger of the plank hauler managed to escape the inferno. She was the driver’s wife. She was later transported to the hospital via air ambulance. She had incapacitating injuries, DPS said.

Reagan, Crockett, Irion and Sterling county VFDs tended the scene of the crash.

The driver of the plank hauler truck was Kelly James Yates, 43, of Tilden. The driver of the crude oil hauler was Gary Wayne Maher, 56, of San Angelo. The survivor of the plank hauler was Chris Yates, unknown age, from Tilden.

Trooper Robert Aldrete of the Texas DPS was the investigator.

The Irion County Sheriff told San Angelo LIVE! in an exclusive interview that Irion County is experiencing the deadliest year ever in traffic fatalities.


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