Fort Worth – One of the victims of a fiery crash in Fort Worth Sunday was headed home from an engagement party with her fiance when an 18-wheeler hit her and others standing in the road trying to help the victim of an earlier crash, police said Sunday.
Fort Worth police officer Tamara Pena said the first crash occurred around 2:30 a.m. Sunday when a westbound motorist drove into a concrete barrier in the center of I-30 near Oakland Boulevard. Police said they did not know what caused the initial crash.
A total of 17 patients were at the scene, MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky said: four died there; two were in critical condition and one of them later died at a hospital; one was in serious condition; and 10 suffered minor injuries. He said three of the four who died at the scene were women.
The motorists who had pulled over to help in the first crash may have known the driver, Pena said.
The burned remains of an 18-wheeler involved in a wreck on I-30 in Fort Worth that resulted in at least five deaths, according to early reports.
By Sunday evening, two people had been identified by the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office: Veronica Gonzalez, 43, and Mary Hernandez, 42, both of Fort Worth.
Veronica “Roni” Gonzalez and her fiance, Ely Alba-Gonzalez, were on the way home from a Dallas engagement party, where they had celebrated their upcoming marriage, said Veronica Gonzalez’s cousin, Jennab Hernandez of Dallas.
Veronica Gonzalez had just celebrated her 43rd birthday last Thursday, Hernandez said.
“She liked to party with the family,” Hernandez said. “That’s how I will always remember my cousin. We will miss her so much.”
Ely Alba-Gonzalez was in a hospital Sunday night. Her condition was not available.
The 18-wheeler, a Ryder truck that caught fire after the crash, was carrying the Sunday edition of the Star-Telegram, said Paul Keese, director of operations for the newspaper.
Seven people were taken to area hospitals — three by ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital, three to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and one to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas by CareFlite, Zavadsky said.
The truck driver was among those taken to a hospital, but he did not appear to have serious injuries, Pena said. She said he was not cited.
Fort Worth fire Lt. Kyle Falkner said firefighters found the truck ablaze when they arrived. The cause of the fire had not been determined Sunday, but Falkner said that at highway speeds a vehicle could catch fire as a result of the crash.
Ten MedStar ambulances were at the accident, the ambulance service reported.
The freeway was closed for several hours between Oakland and Beach Street on Sunday as investigators worked.
Another victim has been identified as 18 year old Clarissa Banda-Castillo, Alba-Gonzalez’s younger sister.
UPDATE: The Tarrant County medical examiner identified the victims in the crash as 43-year-old Veronica Gonzales, 42-year-old Mary Hernandez, 45-year-old Steven Franklin and 37-year-old Claudia Barraza. Clarissa Banda, 18, died after being taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, according to the Dallas County medical examiner.