SAN ANTONIO --
The driver of an 18-wheeler was airlifted to University Hospital in critical condition Thursday morning after he drove his big rig off a bridge.
San Antonio Fire Rescue Acting Battalion Chief Russell Johnson said the crash happened just before 4 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35 and Loop 410, on the New Laredo Highway.
The driver, 59-year-old Kovacevic Kosta of Illinois, lost control and slammed into the guardrail before the vehicle fell off the overpass and landed upside down.
"The saddle tanks (and) the fuel tanks broke open when he hit the bridge embankment and they scattered (and) vaporized all over the ground," said Johnson. "(He was) very lucky there was no explosion."
Kosta was Airlifted to University Hospital with critical injuries.
The truck was carrying auto parts when it crashed and, according to firefighters, the driver was only a couple of miles from his destination where he would have dropped the load off.
San Antonio firefighters are investigating but said Kosta was either cut off by another vehicle or may have fallen asleep.
Hazmat crews were called to the scene because the 18-wheeler's fuel tanks broke and fuel spilled onto the highway.
The truck was hauling auto parts and was only a few miles from its destination.
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