Archive for November, 2012

Funeral today for victims of Interstate 10 Thanksgiving Day pileup

According to an online obituary, the funeral is to be held today for Mr. Vincent Leggio, a victim of the tragic Thanksgiving Day pileup accident that involved 130 to 140 vehicles and sent between 80 and 90 people to the hospital to be treated for injuries.  Mr. Leggio and his wife Debbie Leggio were killed while traveling on Interstate 10 East toward Beaumont when their Chevrolet Suburban was struck from behind by an 18-wheeler. It is believed fog on the roadway impaired visibility and contributed to some of the collisions that day. Mr. Leggio ran Vinco Electric, Inc. with his son Richard Leggio, and the Leggios were well known and well liked in their Pearland community. The funeral mass will be held at St. Helen Catholic Church, followed by interment in the Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery. The Leggio family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, supporting wounded military veterans:

Vincent Leggio: 09-20-1948 to 11-22-2012

Suspected drunk driver kills one in accident near Willowbrook Mall

A single vehicle accident early this morning has left one man dead, another injured, and the driver is facing drunk driving charges. Houston police say that the driver of the blue-colored sedan missed a curve striking a fence at the Willowbrook Mall at Tomball Parkway around 3:30 this morning. Three men were in the car, one of the passengers was declared dead at the scene. The second passenger was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries. Police detained the driver and planned to charge him with intoxication manslaughter. Officers say the driver refused a field sobriety test but did admit that he had been drinking, so he was transported to the hospital for a mandatory blood draw. ABC Channel 13’s story is here.  The personal injury attorneys at Smith & Hassler, half of whom are Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law, aggressively pursue claims against drunk drivers. If you have been the victim of a drunk driving car accident, call (713) 739 1250 or visit to discuss your claim and see how we can help.

One passenger was killed and another injured in the single vehicle accident this morning

Motorcycle accident on Interstate 10 – rider falls 40 feet

A motorcyclist fell 30 – 40 feet from an elevated portion of I-10 after an accident yesterday and was rushed to hospital.  The facts aren’t very clear from Channel 13’s report, but it appears the motorcycle rider either swerved to avoid an 18-wheeler truck or collided with an 18-wheeler, causing him to fall off an elevated portion of Interstate 10 East. Fortunately it appears the man wore a helmet, probably saving his life. A gold-colored Toyota appears in Channel 13’s video footage (see below) and the vehicle has passenger side front end damage, but again, there’s no indication that vehicle was involved in the motorcycle accident.

Head-on accident breaks paramedic’s leg, kills SUV driver Anwar Johnson

A major car accident Monday morning in southeast Houston killed the driver of an SUV and injured five paramedics, breaking one paramedic’s leg. The City of Houston Fire Dept paramedics were transporting a heart patient when the speeding SUV crashed head-on into the ambulance at Holman and St. Charles around 4:00 a.m. The SUV driver, 35-year old father of four Anwar Johnson, was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the accident is still under investigation, however police believe Johnson may have been speeding. Read KHOU’s story here.

Photo credit: Malini Basul / KHOU Ch 11 News

Thanksgiving Day pile-up accident on Interstate 10

Two Pearland residents were killed and tens of others injured in a massive pile-up accident on Interstate 10 on Thanksgiving Day. The wreck happened on I-10 East near Winnie around 8:00 a.m. shutting down the highway in both directions. The westbound lanes were reopened within a few hours but the eastbound lanes remained closed most of Thanksgiving Day. Between 140 and 150 vehicles were involved, including numerous 18-wheelers. There were 80-90 people injured in the pileup: those people were transported to area hospitals. The apparent cause of the wreck was fog on the roadway combined with sunlight impairing visibility and setting off rear-end accidents.
The Pearland couple killed in the accident, Vincent Leggio and his wife Debbie Leggio, were part of an extremely close family and their loss is being powerfully felt. Mr. Leggio and his son, Vincent, Jr. worked together at Vinco Electric in Pearland, an electrician business they operated together. The Leggio’s white-colored Chevrolet Suburban was impacted by a tractor trailer, crushing the SUV.

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Photo credit: Scott Lawrence KFDM

Jennifer Nicole Molina charged in drunk driving death of Evelyn Galindo

21-year old Jennifer Nicole Molina is charged with intoxication manslaughter after a Sunday morning car accident that left Evelyn Galindo dead. Galindo was driving a Honda Civic and was rear-ended by a Nissan Versa around 3:20 a.m. at the 10100 block of the North Freeway feeder road just south of West Road. The Honda Civic then slammed into a concrete pillar. Molina’s Versa crashed through a chain link fence and stopped in a parking lot, police said. Galindo was taken to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead. Molina called a relative who came to the accident scene and picked her up, leaving her car in the parking lot, but the relative talked Molina into returning to the scene: she was given a sobriety test and had blood drawn, police said.
According to what appears to be Jennifer Nicole Molina’s Facebook page, Molina is a 2010 graduate of Klein Forest High School and is studying at Lone Star College. Channel 11’s story is here.

Black Elk Energy West Delta 32 rig explosion – workers injured and killed

A fire at Black Elk Energy‘s West Delta 32 rig in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday killed one worker, another worker is missing and many others were burned and injured.
John Hoffman, CEO of Houston-based Black Elk Energy, said in an email Saturday evening that a contracted dive vessel had recovered the body of one missing worker and the search for a second worker remains underway. Two workers remain in critical condition at Baton Rouge General Hospital‘s Burn Center. On Friday, the day of the incident, a spokesperson with West Jefferson Medical Center, where injured workers were taken initially, said four workers had suffered second and third degree burns over a large portion of their bodies. The men were later transported to Baton Rouge General.
At a Saturday press conference, a hospital official said the four burned workers are from the Philippines, which has made notifying family a challenge. 11 workers in total were air-lifted to Louisiana for medical attention, and the remaining seven workers were treated by paramedics near the shore of Grand Isle, LA and then released. At a press conference at noon on Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard said a total of 22 workers were on the West Delta 32 platform at the time of the explosion.
Hoffman said that the men working the rig, which produces oil and natural gas, are not employees of Black Elk Energy, but instead are contractors. A story posted to Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s web site identifies the contractor that employed the workers as Grand Isle Shipyard. Black Elk Energy’s home page includes a link to a status update on the incident. Grand Isle Shipyard is currently facing a lawsuit (unrelated to Friday’s explosion) from a group of former workers from The Philippines claiming they were forced to work in cramped condition for long hours for substandard pay: the lawsuit, filed in late 2011 in federal court in Louisiana, is pending.
What caused the fire? A KHOU news story states that at the time of the fire, workers were cutting a 75 foot length of 3″ diameter pipe that contained as much as 75 gallons of product, according to CEO Hoffman. This process calls for a cold cutting device, a tool that does not spark, however Hoffman confirmed a cutting torch was used instead, causing the product inside the pipe to ignite. The platform was not in production at the time of the fire and appears to be structurally sound, but the Coast Guard says there is a half-mile by 200-yard sheen coming from the platform.
Previous accidents involving Black Elk Energy: In August a crane was lowering two workers into a basket when there was an equipment failure, according to Federal records. The two workers in the basket fell into the Gulf, but were not seriously injured. In February 2011, a small fire broke out on a Black Elk Energy platform: a battery charger was blamed for that incident. In September 2011, Black Elk Energy paid a $307,000 fine for failure to do a leak test on a safety valve, and it took them 117 days to fix the problem once it was identified.

U.S. Coast Guard photo of the West Delta 32 rig

John Hoffman, Black Elk Energy CEO

Injured workers’ rights:  Depending on the facts and circumstances, persons injured at work may be entitled to recover damages from their employer and/or third parties responsible for the incident that injured them. Injured workers should seek competent legal advice as soon as possible to ensure their rights and protected, and absolutely should avoid signing any documents that may affect their legal rights. Contact Smith & Hassler.

UPS truck collides with SUV on FM 529 – one person killed

A person was killed in a collision between a UPS truck and a passenger SUV yesterday. The silver-colored SUV and UPS truck crashed around 4:00 p.m. on FM 529 near Jackrabbit Road in northwest Harris County. The name of the person who died has not yet been released. The SUV rolled over in the crash: detective say it appears on of the drivers tried to turn and was hit by the other driver. A photograph from Channel 2’s web site (see below) appears to show passenger side front corner damage to the UPS truck.

Photo credit: Channel 2 News

Lourdes Lopez accident on Fry Road: 4 children critically hurt

A two vehicle accident in the early hours of Sunday morning critically injured four children, and the woman driving their car, Lourdes Lopez, is suspected of driving drunk. The Jeep Liberty carrying the children collided with a Dodge Ram dually pickup truck at the intersection of Fry Road and the Interstate 10 feeder road in west Houston. Police say 22-year old Lopez was driving northbound on Fry Road when she ran a red light and the eastbound pickup truck t-boned the driver’s side of the Jeep. The four children are ages 1 through 12. One of the children was ejected from the Jeep. Lopez and a 45-year old man in the front seat of the Jeep were treated for non-life threatening injuries. According to a Channel 11 story, police said tests confirmed Lopez was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

This Dodge Ram pickup t-boned the Jeep Liberty

Police say Lourdes Lopez was driving this Jeep Liberty while intoxicated

Girlfriend dies when thrown from Jeep trying to stop boyfriend from driving drunk

A 27-year old woman was killed in Spring early Saturday morning when she fell from the hood of her boyfriend’s Jeep as she attempted to stop him driving drunk. The woman was found laying in the street in the 22600 block of Spring Crossing around 3:30 a.m. Life Flight rushed her to Memorial Hermann, but she did not survive. Neighbor reported hearing the woman begging Jeremy Stanford not to drive because he had been drinking, however Stanford took off in his Jeep with her clinging to the hood. She fell off sustaining a head injury. Jeremy Stanford has been arrested and charged with felony DWI. Prosecutors will evaluate whether those charges are increased to intoxication manslaughter. What appears to be Stanford’s Facebook page features a late model silver 4-door Jeep KHOU’s story is here.

Photo credit: Facebook