Three men walked away without injury from a fiery auto crash Thursday morning on Hwy. 287 west of Jolly when a tractor-trailer struck a flatbed wrecker from behind.
Bobby Melton, 64, of Wichita Falls, was traveling north in the wrecker when his vehicle was struck by a 2004 Freightliner truck driven by Efren Matamoros, 36, of Dallas. Melton was hauling a recently restored 1970 Chevrolet pickup owned by his passenger, James Davis, 52, of Humble.
The accident happened at about 7:45 a.m. between Butler Road and Wilson Overpass, and closed the northbound lanes of the highway. traffic was rerouted into Wichita Falls via FM 2393 through Jolly and Dean, and Hwy. 79.
A punctured fuel tank on the tractor-trailer is believed to have caused the fire. The men escaped before all three vehicles became fully engulfed with flames.
According to DPS Trooper Harley Rosenberger, the vehicles went into the ditch after the impact, where the semi’s trailer rolled onto its side. Melton told Rosenberger the fire started when the tractor-trailer struck the wrecker.
Volunteer firefighters from Jolly and Henrietta were called to the fire. Firefighters had to break open the semi’s trailer to extinguish a load of books.