Archive for November, 2014

Fieldwood Energy Echo platform explosion kills contract worker

One contract worker has been killed and three others seriously injured in an explosion on Fieldwood Energy’s Echo platform, 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The oil and gas platform was apparently not in production at the time and no pollution has been reported. Fieldwood Energy is a Houston-based company with an office in Lafayette, Louisiana.

KHOU’s story; ABC Channel 13’s story; Channel 2’s story

Robert and Gilberto Tisnado victims of DuPont chemical plant leak

Brother Robert and Gilbert Tisnado have been identified as two of the four people killed in a  leak at DuPont’s LaPorte, Texas chemical plant Saturday morning. The brothers had worked together at the DuPont chemical facility for the past six years; when the leak first started, Gilbert rushed in wearing a gas mask to try and save his brother. Robert Tisnado is survived by his wife and three children; Gilbert leaves behind two children and five grandchildren.

Update: Channel 2 is reporting that the audio recordings of 911 calls have been obtained and show that a DuPont supervisor reporting the incident and seeking emergency assistance was not sure what kind of chemical was released, but did feel confident enough to tell the 911 dispatcher that there was no threat to the public. The two other victims killed in the incident have been identified as Crystle Rae Wise and Wade Baker.

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Robert Tisnado, left, and his brother Gilbert Tisnado

Saturday’s deadly accident occurred when, according to DuPont company spokesperson Aaron Woods, a valve at the LaPorte, Texas plant failed to contain a chemical called methyl mercaptan, something that is typically used in the manufacture of insect poison. A fifth worker was injured in the incident, and is reportedly conscious and talking in hospital. One of the workers killed was a supervisor with 40-years experience. Woods said that while the chemical is very dangerous in concentrated form, once it disperses in the air it is no longer a threat. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is sending a seven person team to investigate the incident and try to determine a cause.

Galveston teens killed in accident with Republic Services gargage truck

16-year old Christopher Ragle and 16-year old Gabriella Giles, both students of Ball High School in Galveston, were tragically killed this morning when their pickup truck collided with a Republic Services garbage truck on Stewart Road near 84th Street shortly before 7:00 a.m. The Galveston Daily News web site has detailed coverage of this tragic accident.

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Photo credit: KHOU

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Gabriella Giles and Christopher Ragle

Explosion at American Materials plant in Missouri City injures workers

Two workers have been seriously injured in an explosion and fire at the American Materials ready mix plant in Missouri City, Texas. The explosion happened around 4:30 p.m. at the asphalt plant. The names of the injured workers have not been released. It took firefighters about an hour to bring the fire under control using foam.

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American Materials plant in Missouri City Texas

Woman thrown from 610 Loop overpass after car rear-ended

A 29-year old woman was tragically killed Wednesday morning when she was struck by her own vehicle and thrown from a 610 West Loop overpass.

The woman’s Hyundai Tucson SUV stalled in the southbound lane of of the West Loop South at Highway 59. She put her hood up, and as she was inspecting the engine bay of her vehicle another vehicle had to swerve to avoid the Hyundai. A gray-colored Lexus IS250 traveling behind the swerving vehicle was unable to react in time and struck the back of the Hyundai, forcing it forward into the 29-year old woman. She was thrown off the side of the freeway and into an embankment, and pronounced dead at the scene. No charges are expected.

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The Hyundai Tucson

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The West 610 Loop overpass

MCSO Deputy Robert Layman still hospitalized after being hit by Jeep on I-45

Deputy Robert Layman with Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office remains hospitalized after he and a colleague were struck by a vehicle on Interstate 45 North two days ago. Deputy Layman and Sergeant Jack Valenzuela were hit by a Jeep Cherokee SUV Wednesday morning as they walked back to their patrol car, having stopped to assist a motorist whose vehicle became disabled in a travel lane. Sgt. Valenzuela was released from hospital that day, however Deputy Layman suffered serious injuries and will probably be off the job for quite some time. The driver of the Jeep, a 50-year old male, is cooperating with the police investigation of the accident.

The Montgomery County Law Enforcement Association has established a benefit fund to help Deputy Layman and his family with the costs of an extended time in hospital and out of work. Donations can be made at any Woodforest National Bank, and the check should be payable to the “Robert Layman Benefit Fund.” Hopefully Deputy Layman will recover in time to be home with his family for Christmas.

Hopefully the Jeep was covered by a large automobile insurance policy that will compensate Deputy Layman for his injuries and lost time from work. Claims involving serious injury and an extended hospital stay frequently involve dealing with negotiating large health insurance liens, and sometimes liens from short term or long term disability insurers.

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The MCSO cruiser damaged in the wreck

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The wrecked Jeep Cherokee

SUV crashes into DiMassi’s restaurant on Kirby injuring ten people

A black SUV crashed through DiMassi’s Mediterranean Restaurant on Kirby Drive just before 2:00 p.m. yesterday injuring ten people and sending four of them to the hospital. Police spoke with the driver of the SUV, who was uninjured in the accident. It appears she hit the gas instead of the brake. The injured people will no doubt look to the insurer of the SUV to cover their medical bills, however there may be a “limits issue” meaning there may not be enough insurance coverage on the SUV’s policy to pay all of the injury claims. People are often surprised to learn that even if they were a pedestrian (and not in their own vehicle), if they have Underinsured Motorist (UIM) or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on their own automobile policy, they can make an injury claim with their own insurer. Trying to figure out what to do after a car accident can be tedious and frustrating, particularly if you’re injured. The Smith & Hassler law firm has represented injured people since 1989 and has four attorneys who are Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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