The southbound U.S. Highway 96 exit to Business 96 on the south end of Silsbee was closed Friday morning after an 18-wheeler ran off the exit and struck a tree.

From the Texas Department of Public Safety...

At approximately 10:00a.m., the Texas Department of Public Safety responded to a one vehicle crash on US 96, at the Business US 96 exit, in Hardin County.

Initial reports indicate that a Freightliner truck tractor semi-trailer was traveling southbound on US 96.

The driver of the 18-wheeler attempted to take the Business US 96 exit at an unsafe speed.

The vehicle traveled off the roadway, up an embankment and struck a tree.

The trailer portion of the vehicle dislodged from the truck tractor and spilled its load of insulation products.

After interviewing the driver and conducting a thorough inspection of the truck tractor, the investigating Trooper found that the front right tire blew out which caused the driver to veer to the right and travel off the road at the Business US 96 exit.

The driver, 48-year-old Gregory Gauthnue of Philadelphia, was transported by ambulance to St. Elizabeth hospital. His injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

At this time, the southbound Business US 96 exit remains closed to traffic. The exit will remain closed until the trailer is safely unloaded and removed from the crash scene. Motorists are urged to find an alternate travel route.

There are no further details to be released.