Driver Dead Following 18-wheeler crash on Hwy 71

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A driver of an 18-wheeler is dead after his truck flipped as he was trying to get on the westbound toll section of Highway 71 near Highway 130.    

According to Austin Police it happened around noon Tuesday on the westbound lanes of SH 71 at Farm to Market 973.

Austin Police Chad Martinka said the driver was trying to get on the toll road when his vehicle drifted.  He said the driver over corrected the drift and flipped, pinning him underneath.

Martinka said the driver died on the scene.  Officials said they’re still investigating what caused the driver to drift. No one else was injured. 

"It appears at this time that he was far enough down the entrance ramp that he wasn't trying to avoid the toll according to witnesses it doesn't appear any other vehicles were involved it doesn't appear that at this time so for some unknown reason he drifted off the shoulder and that's what we are going to try and figure out,” said Martinka. 

The bags of concrete he was carrying spilled out onto the grass and roadway causing confusion for those nearby.

"It initially came out as a truck on fire, it was never on fire. It was from the bags of concrete busting and all the dust and debris in the air that people assumed that it was on fire," said Martinka.

Along with trying to flip the 18-wheeler, the scorching heat was posing its own set of problems for those on the scene.

"When you have officers out on the concrete and asphalt the temperatures are usually 15 to 20 degrees hotter on that then it is," said Martinka

The cause of the crash is still unknown. The name of the driver is not being released at this time as the investigation is still ongoing.

Martinka is asking anyone who witnessed the crash to call The Austin Vehicular Homicide Unit at (512)974-5789.