Rescue worker stunned by what came out of Beaumont fog

Posted Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff Rod Carroll calls it the Thanksgiving Day nightmare.

Carroll heard an emergency call Thursday morning on his radio about a pileup near his rural home, on Interstate 10 near Beaumont.

Carroll, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, is also a paramedic.

He knew his expertise might be valuable, so he headed out toward the highway, which was a sea of fog.

"It was overwhelming," Carroll, 46, told the Los Angeles Times on Friday. "It was extremely foggy. You couldn't see 10 feet around you in any direction. It was like some strange dream."

Officials later determined that two people were killed and more than 80 people were injured when at least 140 vehicles collided, leaving trucks stacked on top of one another and rescuers like Carroll rushing to pull survivors from the wreckage.

According to Houston TV station KHOU, the two people killed were a Pearland couple who were on their way to Louisiana to gamble. They were Vincent and Debbie Leggio, their son, V.J. Leggio, told KHOU.

Twelve people remained hospitalized Friday in serious condition, according to a statement from the Department of Public Safety.

With traffic stopped on the freeway, Carroll parked his cruiser and walked down the middle of the lanes, trying to help as he found injured people. The scene was more than a mile long, so outstretched that officials arriving early had no idea how bad the pileup was or how severe the human toll.

"I saw people lying on the ground covered by a blanket, being attended to by strangers. I saw an infant being loaded into an ambulance. I saw children bleeding," he told the Times. "It was like a Third World scene, honestly. I just kept walking down that highway, trying to help in any way I could, not knowing what I would encounter next, what would come out of the fog."

The collisions occurred in extremely foggy conditions about 8:45 a.m.

Authorities said a man and a woman were killed in a Chevy Suburban SUV crushed by a tractor-trailer.

"The semi tractor-trailer was sitting right on top of that SUV," Carroll said.

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

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