Metroplex residents were victims in Tuesday’s crash on SH 19

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

June 6, 2007 - The two men killed Tuesday afternoon in the head-on collision between an armored truck and an 18-wheeler hauling feed were from the Metroplex area, and the driver of the armored truck remained at East Texas Medical Center in Tyler Wednesday.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Wyatt Wrecker Service worker David Misch rakes and dirt contractor Buddy Brown bull dozes as they work together Wednesday morning to level the ground at the scene of yesterday's fatal accident, in an attempt to get that portion of land just off State Highway 19 looking normal.

�Ishmael Delacruz, 33, of Forney was the front seat passenger who was thought to have died on impact, which trapped him and the 24-year-old driver inside the truck. The passenger in the rear of the armored truck, 60-year-old Allen Hayes of DeSoto, also died at the crash scene, according to Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronny Glossup.

The driver, who identified himself to emergency personnel as Chad Harris, remained in critical but stable condition at ETMC Tyler. The Texas Life Star team out of Greenville landed their helicopter at the crash scene Tuesday while firefighters worked for close to an hour, using their rescue tools to cut through the tough diamond-plated material the armored car was made of. The LifeStar crew then flew Harris from the scene to ETMC Tyler.

The driver of the 18-wheeler also had to be cut out of his truck and was taken by ambulance to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital by Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services personnel. He was later flown to another trauma facility for treatment of internal injuries.

Glossup has ordered that autopsies be performed on both Delacruz and Hayes, standard procedure in fatality accidents.

The northbound Loomis truck reportedly passed a passenger car on State Highway 19 north, just south of Mahoney road, and was in the southbound lane as the 18-wheeler, traveling south, approached. The driver of the 18-wheeler attempted to take evasive action to avoid striking the Loomis truck, but was unsuccessful, and the two vehicles collided in the southbound lane, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Hank Sibley.

The impact rolled the Loomis truck on its side, and crushed the front end of both cabs before both trucks stopped in the ditch. The Loomis truck was smoking and reported to be on fire. Passing motorists stopped and attempted to use fire extinguishers from their vehicles to put out the blaze. 

A Delta County sheriff's deputy was traveling along that stretch of SH 19 north shortly after the crash. Seeing that quite a bit of cash had been thrown out when the back of the Loomis truck broke open during the crash, he stayed at the scene to secure the money, then later helped Special Crimes Unit investigators collect it. Federal officials were reported to have been notified and arrived later in the day Tuesday to collect and account for the money the truck was hauling.

Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers, Hopkins County sheriff's deputies and Hopkins County firefighters also remained at the scene into the late evening hours. DPS and deputies returned this morning to continue their work at the scene. A DPS commercial vehicle team was called in to inspect the scene and assist. Trooper Curtis LaRue was still compiling crash information Wednesday morning.

Hopkins County Salvation Army was at the scene into the evening hours providing water and Gatorade to help keep the emergency workers hydrated, and provided a light evening meal, as well.

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