The driver of the 2001 Chevrolet Suburban, identified as 27-year-old Benjamin Senon Ponse, was pronounced dead at the scene by Upshur County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace W.V. Ray.
The driver of the 2011 Volvo tractor trailer, Marcos Cornelio, 39, of Tyler, was treated for minor cuts and bruises at the scene and released, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
The crash, which the DPS said occurred at 9:24 a.m., happened 6.5 miles northwest of Gilmer at the intersection of 2454 and Toad Road. The site is about 1.5 miles north of the Union Hill School, which is on Farm-to-Market Road 2088.
The northbound Suburban crossed into the lane occupied by the southbound tractor-trailer, and the truck driver went off the roadway's right side in attempting to avoid the crash, investigating DPS Trooper Colby Hobbs said at the scene. The truck ended up in a cluster of trees and barbed-wire fencing, straddling a water-filled ditch and suffering front-end damage.
Troopers were unsure what caused the nearly head-on collision, but Ponse may have fallen asleep, Hobbs said. Both drivers were alone and wearing seat belts, he said.
Ray said he pronounced Ponse dead at 10:15 a.m. The front end of the gold-colored Suburban, which ended up facing south in the middle of the two-lane roadway, was mangled.
Hobbs said he didn't know whether the Brookshire's truck was loaded. Rebecca Sanders, public relations director of the supermarket chain, told the Tyler Morning Telegraph, "Out of respect for the families of those involved, we have no comment regarding the details of this unfortunate accident."
Rain began falling after the crash while troopers were still at the scene. Gilmer and Bettie firefighters, along with the Texas Forest Service, also responded to the accident