A Sour Lake man died Tuesday in an accident on Interstate 45 near Rice when he lost control of the 18-wheeler he was driving.

The truck exploded after striking an extruder and guardrail.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials identified the victim as Dudley Touchet Jr., 50. He was driving a 2000 Mack truck hauling an empty tanker.

A witness at the scene said that the tractor-trailer exploded as Touchet was trying to get out of the cab. Firefighters found his body in the median next to the burned out cab.

Navarro County Justice of the Peace Donna Murray ordered Touchet’s body sent to Dallas Southwestern Forensic Science Center for an autopsy.

Southbound lanes of Interstate 45 were closed for several hours following the accident. Traffic was routed along the service road as crews cleared the wreckage.

As firefighters continued to put out hot spots in the fire, a small fire erupted aboard an arriving fire truck from the Rice Volunteer Fire Department. Apparently brakes on the truck overheated. The fire was quickly extinguished. The amount of damage done to the fire truck is not known.

The accident was investigated by DPS Cpl. John Cabano, assisted by Sgt. Kenneth Authier and Trooper John Nelson. Also assisting at the scene were the Navarro County Sheriff’s Department, TxDOT, and the Corsicana, Rice and Chatfield Fire Departments.

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