Just after noon today an elderly man driving a motorhome north on US 59 came down the overpass of Fostoria Road. As the roadway curved back to US 59 main lanes he left the roadway running into the ditch. Witnesses said he tried to correct and get back to the road but the mini-van he was towing caused the motorhome to come around causing him to crash through the trees and ending up between the tree line and the railroad tracks.
Motorists ran up in an attempt to help, some included the Cleveland Fire Department Fire Cadets that had gone to Splendora Café for lunch and were returning to the fire training grounds. Unable to break the glass windows or the door they were finally to get through one window. The engine was still running and wheels turning. One witness said it appeared the cruise control was on and wouldn’t go off. She said that is when the rear wheels appeared to have ignited the brush. Spreading to the motorhome the fiberglass body was consumed in minutes. On person who was attempting to get the man out was forced to jump through the front window to escape the flames. He received multiple cuts and was treated on the scene.
Splendora was first to arrive on the scene. With flames reaching high in the sky they began to battle the fire from the road. Cleveland arrived and also assisted while New Caney who was called to assist was en route. As firefighters battled the flames a propane tank exploded shooting flames out the side of the motorhome.
After it was extinguished it was several hours of going through debris as the roof and interior had collapsed inside. Liberty County Sheriff’s Office assisted DPS with traffic control. In addition Splendora Police assisted in traffic control at Fostoria and Morgan Cemetery as many people used it as an alternate backing it up for miles also.
Officials thought there were two occupants as indicted by a large amount of women’s clothing and items indicating a wheelchair bound person. Only the male was found. The freeway which had been closed northbound for a long period of time reopened to one lane until Smith Towing of Cleveland was able to load the burned hull of the motorhome and with an escort move it slowly to their storage yard in Cleveland.
At this hour DPS is still attempting to notify next of kin. Several locations have been checked with no results. We will update as soon as notification is made.
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