The five-vehicle wreck on a construction zone east of Crockett resulted in one fatality, injuring eight others.
At around 10:45 a.m., four vehicles, a Dodge pickup, Ford Ranger, a black Buick sedan and a silver Buick sedan were stopped at a construction zone when an 18-wheeler hit the Ranger from behind, causing a domino-type collision with the other three vehicles.
The driver of the Ranger, Teddy R. Chance, 59, of Milam, died as a result of the accident. Three other people, including a road worker, were taken to out-of-town hospitals by helicopter. It is yet to be determined if the 18-wheeler driver, Raymond Lawson, of San Antonio, will face any fines.
Both sides of the road on State Highway 7 have been shut down as workers repair cracks that have erupted after widening the lanes of traffic. TxDOT Lufkin-Area Engineer, David Collmorgen, said at least three construction-zone warning signs were in the area ahead of the collision site.
“We have warning signs up and down the road, and those orange signs, they’re out there for a reason. You need to pay attention. When you see those signs, slow down and look at your surroundings. And, see what’s going on,” said Collmorgen.
As crews funneled traffic into one lane, the unthinkable happened.
“We had traffic control set up, and we were one waying the traffic with a pile of cars. They look up, and there were three vehicles stopped at the arrow board. And then, next thing they knew, they saw vehicles going everywhere,” said Collmorgen.
Four were injured in the Dodge, and one of those injured was life-flighted. Two were injured in the black Buick, of which one was life-flighted. One was injured and life-flighted in the silver Buick. A contracted worker on the scene was also somehow injured and life-flighted.
Crockett Fire Chief John Angerstein says, “We were able to extricate them all. They’ve all been transported, either by helicopter or by ground ambulance.”
In one vehicle was Pamela Moran, 53, of Lufkin, she is in stable condition with unknown injuries. In another vehicle, Leona Jaramillo, 49, of Bryan, is in good condition with a sprained wrist. Two children in the car, Alondra, 5, and Andrea, 4, are in good condition with bruises. Farrel Hooks, 85, of Hemphill, who was in another car, is in stable condition with internal injuries. The road worker, Christopher Patton, 24, of Nacogdoches, is in good condition with scrapes and bruises.
As of 4 p.m., traffic was contained to one lane, with a pilot vehicle escorting traffic through the work zone.
Officials with Crockett Fire Department, Houston County Sheriff’s Office, Houston County Constable’s office, Latexo Volunteer Fire Department, East Texas Medical Center of Crockett, TxDOT and DPS all responded to the scene.