The couple killed in a multiple-vehicle car crash when a piece of machinery struck their tractor-trailer had recently gotten engaged.
The deadly crash involved five vehicles on I-10 in far east El Paso, Texas, in the early hours of Thursday Dec. 21.
Police identified the driver of the semi-truck as Patrick Van Fossen, 24, from McKinney and his passenger as Keserie Paredes from Van Alstyne.
Relatives told ABC affiliate KVIA-TV that Fossen had proposed to Paredes just a few weeks ago.
Police have identified one of the passengers in the deadly I-10 E crash as Keserie Paredes of Van Alstyne, TX. The driver has only been identified as a 24 year old male. They hit a piece of construction equipment protruding 4 ft into the freeway. Tragic for everyone involved. pic.twitter.com/GXW78groSP
— Adria Iraheta (@AdriaKFOX_CBS) December 22, 2017
Jean Beck, a truck driver who witnessed the crash, described the horrifying scene to the news outlet.
“It was just really horrific. The impact was just so bad you could just see pieces of the truck flying and we were all running for our lives because nobody was controlling the truck,” she said. “It was out of control and here we are in and outside of the road and the truck’s coming straight at us so it was pretty scary and we were screaming and trying to run for our lives.”
In a statement, police said that there was a construction vehicle with a protuding conveyor belt that was “sticking out 4 feet onto the I-10 East inside lane.”
The conveyer arm struck Fossen then caused the rear passenger, Paredes, to be ejected, according to investigators. Both suffered serious injuries and died at the scene.
One witness, who did not wish to be named, told CBS that she noticed the piece of equipment sticking out onto the road, and decided to call 911.
“We had called 911 about 30 minutes before the accident, and they took a while to get here. They actually got here as soon as the accident happened,” she said.
The couple’s 8-month-old puppy, Delilah was with them during the crash and survived with no injuries, according to KVI-TV. A witness said she heard the dog whining and it was stuck inside the cab being pulled out of the wreck.
Patrick’s sister, Erika Van Fossen, said that she will take the dog home with her back to her home in Oklahoma.
The newly-engaged couple killed Thursday morning on I-10 had a dog inside the cab of the tractor-trailer at the time of the crash. https://t.co/Qn8Q5LiNED
— ABC-7 TrafficTRACK (@KVIAtraffic) December 23, 2017
JAR construction, contracted for the road project, sent the following statement to CBS.
“We were saddened to learn about the tragic event that occurred on Thursday morning. We are cooperating fully with the various governmental authorities involved, and we are conducting our own investigation. The company cares deeply about the well-being of our community. As the investigation of the incident is ongoing, we have no additional updates to share at this time. In the meantime, the company extends its thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.”
Driver killed in tragic collision along I-10 was identified as Patrick Charles Van Fossen of McKinney, Texas. Police said construction equipment is to blame after Van Fossen and his passenger, Keserie Paredes died Thursday morning. STORY: https://t.co/nxi78HyUMd pic.twitter.com/121v9iw55A
— CBS4Local (@CBS4Local) December 22, 2017