(Orange, Texas)

November 24, 2012

2 dead in holiday multi-car pile-up

Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader

BEAUMONT — Two people were killed on Thanksgiving Day following a multiple car collision in dense fog outside of Beaumont.

More than 100 vehicles, including passengers cars, trucks and tractor trailers, were involved in several wrecks which were described as “chain reaction crashes” by the Texas Department of Public Safety at approximately 8:45 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 22 in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 near Hamshire Road in Jefferson County.

A Hispanic couple from Pearland, Texas, 64-year-old Vincent Leggio and 60-year-old Debra Leggio, were killed when their Chevrolet Suburban was struck from behind by a tractor trailer truck during the multi-car pile-up.

The children of the Houston-area couple killed during Thursday’s massive interstate wreck in Texas say this year was the family’s first Thanksgiving apart, according to the Associated Press.

Vincent and Debbie Leggio were on their way to Louisiana for a gambling trip when their vehicle was caught in the wreck, sons V.J. and Richard Leggio told KHOU-TV.

“My parents are wonderful loving people - all who knew them knew that,” V.J. Leggio told the station. “They will be sorely missed - sorely missed.”

He said he worked with his father at the family business, Vinco Electric in Pearland, the Houston suburb where his parents lived.

“We had a good relationship,” he added. “We got to spend time together golfing and fishing, and I’m so thankful for that now.”

Along with the crashes in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 10, several other wrecks occurred in the westbound lanes of the highway as well which forced the closure of the Interstate for several hours.

Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) stated there was dense fog in the area at the time of the initial crash. Along with the two fatalities, as many as 80 people were transported to hospitals in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Winnie with various types of injuries.

Emergency personnel from the DPS, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and Texas Department of Transportation arrived at the scene, as did members of the Winnie-Stowell Volunteer Fire Department, Labelle Fire Department, Hamshire Volunteer Fire Department and the American Red Cross.

Acadian Ambulance sent multiple units to the scene to help transport the injured to area hospitals. Reports indicate as many as 80 people were taken to nearby hospitals, which included 12 people with injuries said to be in serious condition.

Motorists were forced to find alternate routes for several hours on Thursday. Officials re-routed traffic down Old Highway 90 through Beaumont and State Highway 73 through Winnie and Port Arthur to bypass the scene of the wreck.

The westbound lanes of Interstate 10 re-opened at approximately 12:30 p.m., Thursday, nearly four hours following the collision and lane closures. Eastbound lanes remained closed as officials tried to clear the wreckage.

The eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 re-opened shortly before 5 p.m., Thursday.

Trooper Stephanie Davis with DPS stated via e-mail on Friday no new information was available since the Interstate re-opened Thursday afternoon and that the incident remains under investigation.

Texas DPS Sgt. Chuck Havard told KFDM-TV on Friday that investigators will work to determine whether any drivers will face charges.