Suspicions that a tanker truck driver had to tried to avoid a vehicle on Northeast Loop 820 in December before he crashed and died in a fiery wreck have led to an arrest, police said Thursday.
Arturo Areguin Jr., 23, of Fort Worth surrendered to Tarrant County authorities Monday, six months after the crash killed 50-year-old Daniel Clifton of Little Elm.
Police received a tip in May on Areguin after authorities appealed for help from witnesses who may have seen the crash on Dec. 19.
Detectives tracked down Areguin, who faces a charge of failure to stop and render aid involving death. He was free Thursday after posting $10,000 bail.
He could not be reached Thursday for comment.
At the time of the crash, investigators were unaware that another vehicle may have been involved.
“We were focused on the crash and we had to evacuate areas near the wreck,” Detective Ryan Rider said Thursday. “No one reported another vehicle.”
The crash occurred shortly before 4:30 a.m. in the 100 block of Northeast Loop 820 in the southbound lanes.
The RaceTrac fuel transport tanker with about 8,000 gallons of gasoline was southbound when Clifton veered off the highway and slammed into a drainage ditch. The tanker burst into flames.
The tanker rolled over, stopped upside down and was on fire when first responders arrived, Hurst Battalion Chief Mark Gray previously told the Star-Telegram.
A nearby motel was evacuated for a short time as a precaution, Gray said.
“We determined that he didn’t have any medical problems just before the crash,” Rider said. “And there was an indication that after leaving the highway he attempted to drive the tanker truck back onto the highway.”
Detectives were convinced that Clifton had veered off the highway to avoid another vehicle.
Through the investigation, detectives determined that Areguin was driving a Nissan Murano southbound at the same time that Clifton was on Northeast Loop 820.
Areguin is accused of veering into Clifton’s lane, forcing the truck off the road before it crashed. Areguin is also accused of leaving the scene.
“We had no witnesses in the beginning and no reports of another vehicle,” Rider said. “But the investigation told us a different story.”
Tarrant County criminal court records showed that Areguin was charged with racing on a highway in Fort Worth in August 2012. He received seven months of probation, completed that sentence and the charge was dismissed in May 2014, according to court records.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.