EL PASO, Texas - The construction company that operates the piece of machinery blamed for a deadly wreck involving five vehicles on I-10 says it is saddened and cooperating with investigators.
Police officials said a preliminary investigation revealed the construction machinery was parked in the center median between I-10 E and I-10 W on mile marker 34. It struck several vehicles on the freeway, police said. "The construction vehicle had a protruding conveyer belt sticking out four feet onto the I-10 East inside lane," police added.
The driver and the passenger of a tractor trailer were killed when their semi struck the machinery. Police identified the driver as 24-year-old Patrick Charles Van Fossen, of McKinney, Texas; and the passenger as Keserie Paredes of Van Alstyne, Texas.
Police said the collision caused the machinery's arm "to penetrate the cab (of the tractor trailer), striking Van Fossen and pushing him to the rear of the cab." Investigators further stated, "the conveyer arm then ripped the sleeper berth off the cab, causing the rear passenger (Paredes) to be ejected."
The wreck happened around 2:30am on I-10 East between Americas Avenue and Eastlake Blvd. That portion of I-10 was closed until 11:50am Thursday. The crash led to a chain reaction involving three other tractor trailers and a small SUV.
TXDOT officials told ABC-7 they wouldn't be able to comment until the investigation is complete, but did confirm JAR Construction was contracted at the site.
ABC-7 reached out to JAR Construction repeatedly over the past 24 hours. Friday evening, JAR Construction emailed the following statement to ABC-7's Estela Casas:
"We were saddened to learn about the tragic event that occurred on Thursday morning. We are cooperating fully with the various governmental authorities involved, and we are conducting our own investigation. The company cares deeply about the well-being of our community. As the investigation of the incident is ongoing, we have no additional updates to share at this time. In the meantime, the company extends its thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families."