At about 9:30am Liberty County dispatchers received a call for a major accident on SH 105 in the Trinity River bottoms, just west of the Trinity River. Units arrived to find a 2012 Chevrolet Express van scattered across the bridge along with medical supplies. The van owned by a Medical Supply Company out of Burleson, Texas was driven by 27-year-old Zachary Bryant Ryals of Tomball.

According to DPS Ryals  was traveling east bound on SH 105 when he attempted t pass several vehicles in a passing zone just before the bridge. He was struck head on by 1985 Ford 18-wheeler pulling a log skid steer.  The truck was driven by Robert Clarence Whitton, 55, of Cleveland.  The trailer of that truck and the skid steer struck the van. The impact was so  great that it broke the axle on the skid steer launching one of the monster wheels into the woods. The other wheel came to rest on the highway. The impact spun the van into the path of Bradley Paul Chesson, 35, of Cleveland. who was driving a 1992 Peterbilt and pulling a trailer with a knuckle boom log loader. Chesson hit the van head-on.

The van came to rest in pieces on the bridge. The skid steer came to rest in the ditch on the north side of the road while the Peterbilt and log loader came to rest behind it in the ditch on the north side of the road. The 1985 Ford came to rest in the ditch on the south side of the road

Ryals was pronounced dead on the scene by by Liberty County Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Wade Brown. Pace Stancil removed Ryals from the scene.

Whitton  was Life Flighted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston with non life threatening injuries.

Chesson was taken by ground ambulance to Conroe Regional Trauma Center.

Hardin, North Liberty, Tarkington Fire Departments assisted DPS in detouring traffic around the area. Hardin Fire Department used their JAWS to remove the victim from the vehicle.

Haz-Mat International of Conroe was tasked with cleanup of the diesel and oils as a Texas TCEQ representative stood by.


DPS Trooper Richmond investigated the crash. He was assisted by Trooper Pirtle with DPS Houston, Sgt. Willoughby with DPS Liberty County, Trooper Reynolds with DPS Commercial Vehicle Enforcement of Beaumont and DPS Sgt Leitner and Trooper Kovach of DPS New Caney.

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