Fall From Icy Overpass Kills Dallas Firefighter

February 12, 2014

A Dallas firefighter has died after falling from an icy highway overpass as crews responded to numerous accidents reported across the region, officials said early Tuesday.

Firefighters were responding to a major accident along Highway Spur 408 on Monday night when firefighter William Scott Tanksley fell from the bridge onto the road below, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said. Fellow firefighters rushed to help, but Tanksley was pronounced dead at Methodist Central Hospital, Evans said.

The accident occurred on an overpass above Interstate 20 in southwest Dallas as light snow, fog and freezing rain were reported across the region.

Evans said it was too early in the investigation to know whether Tanksley slipped or if a subsequent crash caused him to fall.

“That road out there was horrible,” Evans told The Dallas Morning News. “There were so many accidents on that bridge you didn’t know if that was what they were responding to or if there were other accidents that occurred since then.”

The 40-year-old Tanksley was a 14-year veteran of the department and leaves behind a wife and three children between the ages of 4 and 12, Evans said. In an email, Evans said “hearts are heavy throughout the department.”

Numerous accidents were being reported in the area, including a 20-vehicle pileup in Arlington and a similar accident involving about 15 vehicles in Frisco. No injuries have been reported in those wrecks, but the Texas Department of Public Safety said slick road conditions caused an accident that killed the 16-year-old driver of a pickup truck that lost control in Denton County.

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