Two men were killed on Thursday, April 22nd, when part of a crane collapsed on their moving pickup truck. Investigations into the incident have yet to determine why the piece of heavy machinery collapsed onto the vehicle.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), two men were killed on Thursday when the boom of a crane operating near the roadway fell onto their moving vehicle. The incident occurred at around 4:30 p.m. as the pair were traveling on Interstate 10, just west of Beaumont.
The 2013 Toyota pickup truck was traveling westbound on the interstate near Smith Road when the deadly accident happened. Both the driver and passenger of the Toyota were Friendswood residents, aged 37 and 42, respectively.
DPS initially reported that the incident was caused by a piece of heavy equipment being dislodged from a commercial vehicle. However, further investigation revealed that a crane was being used by construction crews in the area when it experienced a “malfunction,” leading to the collapse.
Following the accident, several hours passed with traffic in the area at a standstill.
The crane was being used in a road-widening project which was contracted to the Johnson Brothers Corporation. The project involves adding an overpass and widening the interstate from two to three lanes between FM 365 and Walden Road, in both directions. The work has been underway since February of 2019.
Johnson Brothers is a subsidiary of Dallas-based Southland Holdings, a massive infrastructure construction company that operates throughout the US. A spokesperson for the company told 12News that their “thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in this.” The statement also said that Johnson Brothers will be investigating the incident.
The incident will also be investigated by several other agencies. First, there’s DPS, which is in charge of the investigation. Working with DPS will be both OSHA and federal officials, because of the fatalities involved. Finally, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will be conducting its own investigation due to the fact that the incident involved a contractor that they hired.
Since this accident is still under investigation, new details may come to light following the publication of this report.
Work Zone Rules in Texas
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of work zone accidents involve pedestrian vehicles colliding with stationary or slow-moving commercial vehicles or equipment. Despite this, that doesn’t mean that the pedestrian driver is always at fault. Just like normal drivers, commercial drivers have to follow a strict set of rules regarding their behavior and presence on Texas roadways.
Specifically, OSHA has a complex set of rules and guidelines when it comes to everything from construction impact to specific warning devices. The Federal Highway Administration also has a set of guidelines that crews are required to follow in order to keep themselves, nearby businesses, and drivers safe.
Even with efforts by road crews to improve safety, and efforts by government agencies to stress the importance of work zone safety for drivers, well over 70,000 individuals were involved in 26,044 of these sorts of accidents in 2019. Thankfully, the vast majority of these accidents, 68%, resulted in no injuries at all.
Even so, it’s essential that you follow a few simple rules when traveling near or through a work zone. You can download our handy guide and share it with friends to help them stay safe, too.