On Thursday, Dec. 21, two people were killed in a tractor trailer accident in El Paso. Keserie Paredes, a young woman from Van Alstyne, and her fiancé Patrick Van Fossen were both killed in a wreck on I-10.
The investigation showed there was a piece of construction equipment parked in the median of the highway. “The construction vehicle had a protruding conveyor belt sticking out four feet onto the I-10 East inside lane,” the El Paso Police said.
“The machinery arm penetrated the cab of the semi, striking Van Fossen and pushing him to the rear of the cab,” the El Paso Police said. “The conveyor arm then ripped the sleeper berth off the cab, causing Paredes to be ejected.”
The wreck occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 21, and caused a chain reaction involving a small SUV and three other semis.
Witnesses of the crash described it as horrific. The impact had pieces of the truck flying and people running because nobody was controlling the truck. “They were killed on impact,” truck driver Jean Beck, who was also involved in the accident, said.
Family said Van Fossen had proposed to Paredes just a few weeks ago. Both victims were truck drivers, with Van Fossen having been driving for almost two years. Relatives said Van Fossen and Paredes both loved to drive. Family stated the couple had just recently been approved to buy a house and were talking about settling down and having kids.
KVIA El Paso interviewed Parades’ aunt, who told the news station that the loss is something she is having trouble understanding. “She (Paredes) had a beautiful heart, always so happy. She loved her trucking job. She was the sweetest person I knew and the best niece I could ever have. She loved animals, especially her dog and cats. She loved everything and everyone. Her mother and father are so destroyed right now. I am still trying to wrap my head around what happened. I will always miss her. Our family will never be the same.”
Karista Cripe, a former co-worker of Paredes, said many lives have been touched by her. “She was eccentric and wild,” Cripe said, “yet she was extremely friendly to everyone she came across. Full of intelligence — Keserie had a bright future ahead of her.”
JAR construction issued a statement concerning the accident. “We are saddened to learn about the tragic event that occurred on Thursday morning,” the statement reads. “We are cooperating fully with 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.”