Texas bridge accident that killed child, injured woman investigated as homicide

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An 18-wheeler with the boom up struck the overpass, causing concrete to fall onto the roadway below, killing a little girl. (KTRK)

A child was killed and a woman was seriously injured in an accident involving a bridge and an 18-wheeler in Sealy, Texas. Police are treating the accident as a homicide investigation.

PHOTOS: Deadly bridge accident in Sealy


The intersection of Highway 36 at Highway 90 has been shutdown. The bridge is closed to traffic as well.

Police say the disposal truck's driver, 72-year-old Carl Weige, had just dropped off a dumpster for Texas Disposal Systems, Inc., and the boom that holds the dumpster was still raised. The truck hit the warning device that hangs over the roadway to alert drivers that they may hit the bridge. Sealy Police Chief Chris Noble says the warning indicators were struck but the truck didn't stop.

The disposal truck's boom then struck the overpass, and it hit the bridge so hard that it knocked off a section of concrete and dislodged the steel beam.
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A family simply can't believe they've lost a loved one after part of a bridge collapsed and fell onto a car passing below.


"The force that the beam was hit was catastrophic," said Sealy Police Chief Chris Noble. "Walking around on the upper level of bridge, the asphalt and next section of beam has been also moved and that bridge is what I call rotten from the inside out now."

Investigators say part of the overpass fell on top of a family's vehicle. A TxDOT crane from a nearby construction site was brought in to lift the concrete section off the car.

Bre'in Bullock, 12, was killed instantly. She was riding in the front passenger seat. Her sister, Breandon Gardner, 9, was in the back seat and was able to get out safely. Their mother, Leah Bullock, 35, was driving. She was taken by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital with a chest injury. She is in critical condition but authorities say her injuries are not considered life-threatening.

A viewer-submitted photo of LifeFlight at the scene of a bridge collapse in Sealy.



The Bullock family lives in El Campo. Leah Bullock also has an older daughter who was not in the car. Amanda Rodriguez is a longtime neighbor of the family.

"It's just heartbreaking, real heartbreaking. I don't know what can I say to them to feel better because I know it hurts," said Rodriguez. She and her daughter earlier visited the grandmother's house to offer their condolences. "It's unthinkable. You don't know what to say."

On Thursday night, two prayer vigils were held -- one in Sealy, the other in El Campo.

"Just show them that we care. That's all that matters that these people know there are people here who care and are praying for them," said Maryann Maxwell, a Sealy resident who attended the vigil.

Earlier, Chief Noble said that the truck's boom indicator light was buzzing and illuminated when officers arrived at the scene of the accident.

The truck belongs to Texas Disposal Systems, Inc., out of Buda, Texas. The company is up to date on their inspections and does not have a notable history of accidents.

Weige was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Katy. He was released and was being tested for drugs and alcohol, Noble said.

Austin County Judge Tim Lapham confirms this bridge has been struck before, on a regular basis. The state has it scheduled to be replaced in 2017, with the bidding process about to begin.

Judge Lapham said it has been a problem for a long time. He add that the bridge was hit last year and he was hoping it would be replaced then but it wasn't. He told abc13 no serious injuries have occurred in the accidents, to the judge's knowledge, because usually the equipment bears the brunt of the damage.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Texas Disposal Systems issued the following statement regarding the accident:

"We regret a TDS truck was involved in an incident impacting an overpass in Sealy, TX. We have been told there was a fatality and are saddened by the loss resulting from this incident. Our deepest sympathies go to the family members and friends. An investigation is currently underway by local authorities. TDS is cooperating fully and will also be conducting its own investigation. The truck driver, as reported to us, did not sustain major injuries. We will be in communication with the community and public as relevant information becomes available."

Facebook video from the scene courtesy of viewer Carlos Gutierrez Lopez:
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Viewer video of a bridge collapse in Sealy



Noble said that the truck's boom indicator light was buzzing and illuminated when officers arrived at the scene of the accident.

The truck belongs to Texas Disposal Systems, Inc., out of Buda, Texas. The company is up to date on their inspections and does not have a notable history of accidents.

Weige was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Katy. He was released and was being tested for drugs and alcohol, Noble said.


Austin County Judge Tim Lapham confirms this bridge has been struck before, on a regular basis. The state has it scheduled to be replaced in 2017, with the bidding process about to begin.

Judge Lapham said it has been a problem for a long time. He add that the bridge was hit last year and he was hoping it would be replaced then but it wasn't. He told abc13 no serious injuries have occurred in the accidents, to the judge's knowledge, because usually the equipment bears the brunt of the damage.

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