Driver whose big rig crashed against TxDOT sign details incident

No one injured in accident

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The driver of a big rig who hit a light-up, Texas Department of Transportation sign with her raised dump trailer believes she accidentally hit the lever to raise it while shifting gears.

Jessica Gil was behind the wheel of the truck, hauling 23 tons of earth in a trailer Wednesday morning as she merged onto I-10 East from Woodlawn Avenue. Her collision with a TransGuide sign on the lower level by Cincinnati blocked off both directions from traffic for hours.

Gil said the lever to lift the trailer is on the dash of her cab, near the shifter.

"I'm thinking when I was shifting and looking, trying to merge in, I probably hit it," Gil said. "That's the only way it will engage, with the clutch and that lever."

Gil said she didn't hear the trailer going up or any honks from the heavy traffic around her.

"When I finally merged in and I looked back, I saw my trailer was up," she said.

Going what she estimated was 5 to 8 miles per hour because of the traffic, Gil said her reaction was to try to lower the trailer and then stop. As she did it, though, the trailer collided with the sign above the highway.

Gil said she didn't really have any other options to try to avoid the crash.

"If I did just a slam the brake thing the car in back of me would have hit me," she said. "They were that close."

Gil said she was thankful no one was hurt.

The co-owner of A.J. Lopez trucking, Rocio Lopez, said she thought Gil took the best course of action.

TX DOT officials were unable to say if the truck should have been traveling on the lower level since it will take some time for the crash investigation report to be finalized.

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