Two drivers were taken to area hospitals Monday night after a fiery crash that shut down the northbound lanes of Southeast Loop 410 for hours.

Around 7:15 p.m., the driver of a Dodge Durango drove underneath an 18-wheeler, causing the big rig to drag the SUV onto the bridge over east Southcross.

The tangled vehicles damaged the guardrail and bridge while causing diesel fuel to spill from the big rig.

The SUV, tractor trailer and bridge caught fire not long before part of the big rig flipped off the highway.

"The tractor hit the guardrail and the tractor stayed on the guardrail. But the trailer was carrying oil field equipment, (and) heavy pipes. The trailer came off the guardrail and was dragged down the side of the bridge," said SAFD Battalion Chief, Russell Johnson.

"When it hit the up ramp on the other side of Southcross, it pulled the tractor and trailer off, and the tractor and trailer landed upside down."

Johnson said the truck's engine landed 50 feet from the vehicle and its hood some several hundred feet from that.

Drivers of both vehicles were alert and talking when they were transported to hospitals.

All traffic in the northbound lanes of Southeast Loop 410 were directed off the highway at the Southcross exit.

HAZMAT crews were on scene cleaning the diesel spill. Bridge inspectors were tasked with making sure the 410 bridge over Southcross was safe for drivers.

It was expected to take crews until after midnight to clear the accident.

Johnson says the driver of the Durango might have fallen asleep at the wheel.

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