Posted: Dec 28, 2012 5:38 PM by Mitch Bryan
Updated: Dec 28, 2012 6:53 PM
LIVE OAK COUNTY - A fatal accident claimed the life of a truck driver early this morning. It happened outside of Three Rivers, near mile marker 69.
Cars moved slowly past the burnt shell of 42-year-old Mike Rivera's 18 wheeler after authorities say he drifted off the road and slammed into this concrete bridge.
Troopers say Rivera's truck grinded along the wall of the bridge until it toppled over into the culvert below. Moments after the first trooper arrived, the fuel from the truck ignited and burst into flames.
Both sides of I-37 were shut down as fire crews fought the blaze, but there was nothing they could do for Rivera who was pronounced dead at the scene.
As for a cause of the accident, troopers told us this:
"Ended up falling asleep, ran across the center median," said State Trooper, Kolton Kendall.
But Mike's girlfriend, Michelle says she there's no chance of that being the cause of her boyfriend's death. She says he had driven trucks for Ben E. Keith for the past 2 years.
"He was very good at what he did and never fell asleep behind the wheel. So I do, honestly believe, a hundred and ten percent, that he would not have fallen asleep," Cervantes said. "If anything, there was probably the fog, or another vehicle that might have gotten in front of him."
Michelle and Mike were a couple for nearly 6 years, and though they never got married, together they raised three kids, in a happy, healthy home.
"He was a family man. He loved BBQing, and he loved spending time with the family when he had the time. Like I said, he worked two jobs. And he was trying to provide a life for him and his children," Cervantes said.
Michelle says Mike was headed home and though he didn't make it, she says such a good man should never be forgotten.
"I hope everybody keeps Mike Rivera in everybody's prayers, because everybody knows he was an angel. He was a good man."
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