Fuel Tanker Crash & Burn
On July 13, 1977 at about 10:51 am, a gasoline tanker truck smashed into the side of an auto and made one of the city's busiest intersections a flaming holocaust. One woman died and at least two persons injured, including the truck driver, who was burned and a policeman who was knocked down by a fire hose while he was helping the firefighters fighting the flames.
The accident turned that section of North Odessa into a black smoke inferno visible for miles. The dead woman was identified as Viola Franklin age 67 of 1100 East 52nd street. Justice of the Peace Virgil Lumpee made that identification from credit cards and other identification papers he removed from the charred purse he found in the burned 1966 four door sedan.
The truck overturned during the collision. Some witnesses said it jackknifed. The truck driver, Dewayne Lovell age 38 of Sterling City, leaped from the burning truck with his clothing on fire and ran for safety. A fire department ambulance transported the truck driver to Medical Center Hospital Emergency Room, where doctors began treating him for second degree burns over 70% of his body.
A gasoline service station stands at each of the 4 corners of the intersection. Investigators said the gasoline tank on the truck apparently ruptured from the accident spewing gasoline into the intersection. The gasoline ignited and spread to the gas pumps at Ike's Texaco Station on the Northwest corner and ignited them.
The Odessa City patrolman who was injured is Monnie Weddell age 21. He was knocked down when a fire hose broke under pressure. A fire department ambulance transported him to the Medical Center Hospital Emergency Room.