Five Dead and 12 Injured in Fiery Fort Worth Tractor-Trailer Accident

Good Samaritans Among Victims Killed and Injured in Nine-Vehicle Crash

Veronica “Roni” Gonzalez and Ely Alba-Gonzalez were engage on Valentines Day. The happy couple celebrated this exciting milestone in their relationship with family and friends last Saturday evening. Sadly, this celebration ended in tragedy when the Roni and Ely’s sister, Clarissa Banda-Castillo, stopped to lend a hand to victims in an earlier car crash on Interstate 30. Following behind in another car, Ely also stopped to help.

As these generous women rendered aid, a semi smashed into their cars and burst into flames, killing 43 year-old Roni and 18 year-old Clarissa. Ely sustained severe injuries, including leg amputation and loss of consciousness. She does not yet know about the most devastating loss, that her long-time girlfriend and her sister are dead. Thankfully, two children who were in Roni’s car during the accident were not injured.

Apparently, helping people was par for the course for both women and their siblings. Roni’s niece explained, “When they see somebody who needs help, they always pull over and help them.”

Mary Hernandez enjoyed a dance class and an evening out with friends Saturday night. As she headed for home, she encountered a crashed BMW on I30. She too made the fateful decision to help. The 42 year-old mother of three was also killed in the 2:30 a.m. tractor-trailer wreck.

Steve and Tracey Franklin also stopped to help the victim of the initial car crash. As members of a local jeep club, they regularly assisted drivers who were stranded by winter snowstorms in North Texas. Steve was killed by the 18-wheeler and Tracey remains in serious condition. Their daughter praised Steve in a heartbreaking message on Facebook: “There are not enough words in the world to communicate what an incredible man my daddy was.”

Minor Accident Spirals into Deadly Crash

The tragedy started from a minor wreck. The driver of a BMW crashed on I30 between Oakland Boulevard and Beach Street. The good Samaritans ran to help. While standing outside their vehicles, a Ryder tractor-trailer carrying the print edition of the Sunday Fort Worth Star-Telegram slammed into them. Four good Samaritans and the driver of the BMW were killed and 12 people were injured, several severely.

Investigation Continues 

Fort Worth Police investigators continue to investigate the cause of the crash. Skid marks indicate that the truck driver slammed on the brakes as he approached the accident scene, but was unable to avoid colliding with the cars. The impact ruptured the semi’s diesel tank, which set the truck, a Toyota Corolla and the BMW on fire. Police do not believe the truck driver was intoxicated and have not filed charges.

Berenson Law Firm has exclusively handled auto crash recovery for more than 35 years. We help victims who suffer catastrophic injuries and families who have lost a loved one. Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific crash and to their families.

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