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Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

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Fort Worth Truck Explosion Accident Wrongful Death

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Fort Worth police have arrested and charged Louis Nieves, 23, with intoxication manslaughter after a fiery traffic accident early in the morning that killed the driver of a fuel tanker truck and shut down the freeway most of the day.

Nieves was the driver of a small red pickup truck. Police reported he was driving the wrong way on Interstate 30 when he slammed into the oncoming 18-wheeler near the Beach Street exit at 2:37 a.m.

The freeway was shut down and traffic was backed up through downtown Fort Worth after the deadly wrong-way crash. The tanker exploded after impact, killing its driver. The truck was so badly burned that the flames destroyed the tanker and damaged the surface of the freeway.

The red pickup showed significant front end damage, but did not catch on fire. Emergency crews rushed Nieves to a nearby hospital. He was treated at the hospital, released and booked into the Fort Worth jail. Officers said several people called 911 to report the wrong-way driver.

The other two lanes remain badly damaged and must undergo extensive repairs. TxDOT said the road must be resurfaced and, underneath, steel beams and the concrete support system that burned must also be replaced.

The tanker was so badly burned, there is no obvious way to determine who owns it or even to whom it was registered.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has opened an investigation into where a 23-year-old pickup driver was drinking before he was involved in a fiery crash.

Louis Nieves, 23, who was arrested after the wreck, told a reporter for WFAA/Channel 8 TV that he had drunk 10 beers before getting behind the wheel and leaving a bar on East Eighth Street near the Fort Worth Convention Center.

Family and friends identified the tanker driver as 45-year-old Alejandro Raya of Fort Worth.

The beverage commission is investigating but won’t identify the business until the investigation is further along.

Nieves, who faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter, remained in the Mansfield Jail with bail set at $90,000, according to Fort Worth police.

Alejandro Raya left a wife and three children, ages 21, 14 and 12. Alejandro Raya moved to the United States from Mexico in the 1980s. Raya was working for Petro-Chemical Transport, based in Addison, according to a company spokeswoman. Gasoline fuel that spilled from the tanker ignited, melting steel beams and concrete in the I-30 bridge over Sycamore Creek.