Fatality Collision-I 20 and Pine (Press Release)

by Police Administration, Monday, August 24, 2015, 20:08 (1273 days ago)


On August 24, 2015 at 4:10 pm, the Abilene Police Department received multiple calls regarding a major collision on Interstate 20 at the Pine Street Overpass. APD, AFD, and Metrocare all responded to the scene. Due to the severity of the collision and some nine involved vehicles, the westbound lanes of I-20 were closed.

Killed in the collision was retired Abilene Firefighter Joe Tidwell. Firefighter Tidwell served the Abilene Fire Department for 29 years (1984-2013). Joe Tidwell was 51 years of age.

Seriously injured in the collision was former Abilene Police Dispatcher Shawna Elieff, age 42. Ms. Elieff served from 1999-2011. She was transported to Hendrick Medical Center and remains in the Intensive Care Unit.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears a tractor-trailer carrying a load of gravel inadvertently dumped the load on I-20, thereby causing a large cloud of dust to form almost instantaneously. Multiple collisions occurred as vehicles began braking while entering the cloud. Tidwell’s vehicle came to a stop inside the cloud, along with multiple other vehicles. Tidwell’s vehicle was subsequently rear-ended by a west bound tractor-trailer that entered the cloud a few seconds later.

The driver of the truck carrying the gravel returned to the scene. This incident is still under investigation by the Abilene Police Traffic Division. Any charges that may be filed are contingent upon the outcome of the final investigation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, and co-workers of both Firefighter Tidwell and Ms. Elieff.


Sgt. Lynn Beard
Abilene Police Department

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