SALADO, Texas - Thousands of I-35 commuters were stuck in traffic Thursday afternoon after a tragedy on the state's busiest highway.
The driver of a tractor trailer hit a beam being used to build the bridge across I-35. Debris came crumbling down killing 23-year-old Clark Brandon Davis who was in another vehicle. 3 others were hurt including the driver of the tractor trailer that caused the crash.
Adam Shaivitz with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles says Texas law requires trucks with a height of over 14 feet obtain a permit to travel safely on the roadways.
"We've determined that the truck that was involved in the collision with the bridge did not have a legally required permit to carry an over-height load," Shaivitz said.
According to DPS and TXDot, there were signs posted indicating a 13 foot 6 inch clearance. DPS says the tractor trailer was 14 foot 7 inches.
As traffic was diverted on Thursday to country roads the little town of Holland saw a huge inflow of visitors.
"The people that came in were basically going north to Dallas, there was some going to San Antonio that had to try to get alternate routes and so I had an inflow of people asking 'What's the easiest, quickest way to get out of town you know?" said Wayne Deaver the manager of the only grocery store in town, the Holland Supermarket.
"Our roads are not really designed for that kind of heavy traffic. You know you're just talking a regular normal country town," he said.
Deaver says his store was busy from around 11:30 to 8 Thursday night.
"The sad part about it is that you made that money under a different sad situation," Deaver said.
Deaver says it's not the first time accidents on 35 have sent traffic his way. He says people aren't slowing down enough while the highway is under construction.
"If you sneeze wrong you're going to crack into somebody or hit a barrier. People don't slow down through the construction areas. They just keep on...knowing that it's dangerous," he said.
DPS says they are still investigating the incident. But criminal charges -- including the over-height violation may be on the way.