A three vehicle, chain reaction accident tied up traffic, left a truck driver pinned in his vehicle and destroyed power lines on Highway 82 east of Gainesville yesterday afternoon. But the crash apparently appeared more horrific than it actually was.

Four people were reportedly injured in the pileup which happened around 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 82 and FM 371.

Although at least one of the accident victims was taken to the hospital by air ambulance, none of the victims’ injuries appear life-threatening.

Belva McClinton, Gainesville Police Department public information officer, said the accident involved a 1998 Ford Escort with two passengers, a 1993 Ford pickup and an 18 wheeler carrying a heavy load of pipe.

GPD Sergeant Bobby Balthrop said the Ford Escort was traveling south on FM 371 and turned right to go west on Highway 82. The vehicle is believed to have been entering the acceleration lane.

Balthrop said the Ford pickup was driving north on FM 371 and was crossing Highway 82 to continue north on FM 371.

Balthrop said judging from the way the vehicles came to rest after the accident and considering the skid marks on the highway, it appears the Ford pickup failed to yield the right of way to the 18 wheeler which was northbound on Highway 82.

The 18 wheeler struck the Ford pickup, which sent the Ford pickup spinning around, and the pickup then hit and went up on top of the Ford Escort.

Balthrop said the driver of the 18 wheeler could not stop or steer the truck and ran over a power line on the right shoulder of the westbound Highway 82.

The impact of striking the power line caused the heavy pipes loaded on the 18 wheeler to crash through the cab, splitting the cab in half and pinning the driver in the cab.

Balthrop said there were live power lines down on the truck and across the Highway 82.

While firefighters from Gainesville Fire Department worked to free the driver, a huge TxDOT crane lifted some of the heavy pipes off of the cab. Later, a huge forklift assisted at the site as well.

Firefighters worked over two hours to free the driver from the cab.

The driver was then taken by air ambulance to Parkland Hospital.

The name of the driver of the 18 wheeler was not yet released at press time.

Roy McAfee was driving the Ford Escort. He was accompanied by passenger Terry Scaggs.

McAfee talked to a Register reporter at the scene of the accident.

He said the driver of the Ford pickup hit his head on the passenger side windshield and cracked the glass.

McAfee said the driver of the maroon truck was on FM 371 heading north through the intersection to continue north on 371 and the driver did not yield to the 18 wheeler who had the right of way. The 18 wheeler struck the pickup truck and it came down on top of the car.

The driver of the pickup got out of his truck and went down to the site of the 18 wheeler, McAfee said.

McClinton said it is her understanding that the driver of the Ford pickup initially said he did not want medical treatment.

“After some insistence (from emergency personnel) he eventually went to a local hospital in an ambulance to be checked out,” she said.

The name of the driver of the Ford pickup was not yet released at press time.

A small chichuaua dog was also riding in the Ford pickup at the time of the accident. The dog was picked up by Gainesville animal control officers.

Balthrop said he later heard that a family member of the dog’s owner was on the way to retrieve the dog.

After the accident both the westbound and eastbound lanes of Highway 82 were closed around the accident site.

The eastbound lane was reopened about 3:10 p.m.

The accident was under the jurisdiction of the GPD, but many agencies assisted, including state troopers, GFD, Oakridge Police Department and TxDOT. GPD is continuing its investigation into the accident.

GPD Public Information Officer Belva McClinton said the scene of the accident was cleared about 7 p.m.

Recommended for you