Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

July 18, 2011

Fatal wreck closes Hwy. 79 early Fri.

JACKSONVILLE — A portion of east U.S. Highway 79 was closed down for several hours early Friday morning because of a fatal car accident involving a pickup truck and an 18-wheeler.

The incident occurred at 3:50 a.m. at the 1900 Block of east Rusk, near Central Baptist Church, in Jacksonville.

According to police, Stephen Duecker, 28, of Flint was headed east on Hwy. 79 toward Henderson for work in his 2001 three-quarter-ton Chevrolet truck. He collided with an oil tanker truck headed west toward Jacksonville, said James Oben, detective for the Jacksonville Police Department.

“It appears the driver of the pick-up must have fallen asleep, because he crossed the left-hand turn lane and got into oncoming traffic,” Oben said. “The driver side of the pickup and the driver side of the tractor-trailer collided.”  

Police are waiting on an autopsy report to confirm the cause of death.

The driver of the 18-wheeler, Marlin Watkins, 62, of Tatum was treated and released from the hospital.

No oil from the tanker-truck leaked due to the accident.

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