According to the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office’s Jail Booking Report, Ariel Hernandez Marin, 44, was jailed on a manslaughter charge, Jan. 2 at 9:30 p.m. Marin, of Killeen, was the same man identified by the Texas Department of Public Safety as the truck driver responsible for operating his 1995 Freightliner truck tractor in the wrong direction, causing the death of William Cutler, 65, of North Carolina, on Thursday, Jan. 2.
DPS said Marin hit Cutler’s 2006 International truck tractor, causing his death on US 59 in the Hungerford area.
Maxine E. Cutler, who is the surviving sister of the victim, said her brother had never been in an accident and was an exceptional truck driver.
He had logged over 9 million miles driving and had more than 34 years of experience on the road. She had viewed her brother’s truck days after the accident and was in disbelief of what it looked like.
According to the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, all lanes were closed near the DPS weigh station.
At 7:45 p.m., northbound lanes were opened, but southbound lanes were closed.
WCSO said it was until 12:30 a.m. that all lanes would be open.
One person who commented on the WCSO Facebook page, Jeanie Kubenka, said family members viewed the truck operator trying to maneuver his way around the wrong way before the accident occurred.
“My daughter and son-in-law barely missed being involved in this; the 18-wheeler was going northbound in the southbound lane,” Kubenka said. “He honked his horn at them. We were not far behind them so she called to warn us and it happened just before we got there. Very scary.”
Woodard said both truck tractors struck each other violently partially from the front as if they were trying to dodge each other. He said both vehicles were towing trailers.