The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

April 11, 2013

Two men die in truck collision Thursday morning south of Cooper

Herald-Banner Staff

Cooper — The drivers of two trucks were killed Thursday morning when their vehicles collided head-on and burst into flames in Delta County.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Trooper Kyle Bradford, George Eugene Smith, 45, of Ada, Okla. and Terry Dean Johnson, 62, of Bonham died in the crash on State Highway 24, about one mile south of Cooper.

Smith was reported to be driving a box truck southbound on the highway when for unknown reasons his truck crossed into the northbound lanes and collided with Johnson’s truck, which was carrying 6,600 gallons of unleaded gasoline and 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel.

The smoke from the resulting fire could be seen for miles. The Commerce and Klondike Fire Departments assisted the volunteer Cooper Fire Department on the scene.

According to Commerce Fire Chief Jack Berni, CFD received a call at 7:36 a.m. to a wreck four miles south of Cooper.

Both vehicles were fully involved, and after the fire had begun to burn down, L-3 Communications was contacted.

“They brought out one of their aircraft crash trucks with the foam system, our guys cleared the scene, and now the Department of Public Safety has command of it,” Berni said.

Both men were pronounced dead at the scene and next of kin were notified. Highway 24 was shut down as the road was cleared.

“There is a huge amount of debris and a lot of damage,” Berni said. “DPS is conducting an investigation.”