A passenger of an 18-wheeler died, and the driver suffered significant burns after crashing on Interstate 35 early Wednesday, marking the second tractor-trailer crash at that location in the last two days, Bruceville-Eddy Police Chief Bill McLean said. The passenger who died was the driver's wife, and both were Henderson residents, McLean said.

First responders were called at about 5:15 a.m. to northbound I-35 mile marker 317 after the driver, hauling avocados, traveled off the roadway and crashed into an unoccupied dump truck on the shoulder. McLean said the 18-wheeler crashed and caught fire with the driver and his wife trapped.

The man was pulled from the truck by a passerby, McLean said. He was taken to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center with significant injuries and later transferred to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas with burns covering 30 percent of his body, McLean said.

Emergency officials extinguished the flames that engulfed the truck before the driver's wife was located. A justice of the peace was called and pronounced the woman dead at the scene.

The names of the couple were not available Wednesday night.

McLean said the unoccupied dump truck involved in the wreck was parked there after a different 18-wheeler crashed into a barrier wall and caught fire at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Police reported that driver was not injured, but the crash caused heavy damage to the barrier wall. McLean said officials placed the dump truck there to protect the damaged wall until it could be repaired.

McLean said the dump truck was totaled in the crash Wednesday. The collision caused police and Texas Department of Transportation officials to close down a portion of the interstate for several hours.

The crash remains under investigation, McLean said.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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