Local couple among those injured in five-vehicle crash in highway construction zone
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones
In spite of markers along the road, a large arrow sign and a flagman warning motorists of the construction zone on SH 7 East, a Freightliner hauling a trailer loaded with lumber plowed into a line of four vehicles stopped ahead of it Monday, July 16 at about 10:45 a.m. Teddy Chance, 59, of Milam died at the scene after the tractor-trailer rig, driven by Raymond Lawson of San Antonio, crushed his blue 2000 Ford pick-up truck. The collision between the rig and Chance’s vehicle caused a chain reaction with the three vehicles stopped ahead of Chance. All but the tractor-trailer rig were stopped, waiting for a flagman to signal them to continue through the construction zone adjacent to the Houston County Airport, according to David Hendry of the Lufkin DPS office. The driver and passenger in the front vehicle, a 2008 Buick, were Houston Countians Farrel and Mildred Hooks. Relatives said the couple was on their way to funeral services in Crockett for Jake Caprielian, president of the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corp. Both were transported to ETMC Crockett where Mildred was treated for minor injuries, and Monday night Farrel, 85, was flown to ETMC Tyler for brain trauma. As of Tuesday night, July 17, he was reported to be in good condition. Pamela Moran, 53, of Lufkin was driving a 2003 Buick. She was airlifted from the scene to ETMC Tyler where she reported to be in fair condition Tuesday night. The fifth vehicle in the crash was a red 1997 Ram pick-up driven by Leona Jaramillo, 49, of Bryan. She was treated at ETMC Crockett for an injured arm. Her two young passengers also were injured. Alondra Jaramillo, 5, was taken to ETMC Crockett. Andrea Jaramillo, 4, was airlifted from the scene to Texas Children’s Hospital in Dallas after reporting she could not see. Christopher Patton, 24, a flagman who works for Pinto Construction, also sustained injuries when he attempted to signal Lawson to stop. TxDOT officials remind “motorists to pay attention, slow down and use caution when traveling through work zones for their own safety and the safety of workers.” At this time, it is unknown why Lawson failed to stop before striking Chance’s vehicle. “No charges have been filed yet,” Hendry stated Tuesday afternoon. He said DPS is continuing to investigate the incident. Those responding to the scene were troopers from the Crockett DPS Highway Patrol Office, Houston County Sheriff’s Office, Houston County Fire Marshal/Office of Emergency Management, Houston County Constables Office, Crockett Police Department, Crockett Volunteer Fire Department, Latexo Volunteer Fire Department, ETMC EMS (two ambulances), Grapeland EMS (one ambulance), PHI medical helicopter, ETMC Air One (two helicopters) and TxDOT. A HAZMAT crew from Lufkin also responded to help with clean-up.