FORT WORTH, Texas — At least six people died Thursday morning in a crash involving more than 130 vehicles on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth, according to authorities.
Update 11:05 a.m. ET Feb. 12: Officials with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office on Friday morning identified a fifth person killed in Thursday’s massive pile up in Fort Worth.
Officials said 54-year-old William Darrell Williams, of Pahoa, was among those who died in the crash.
Update 10:45 a.m. ET Feb. 12: Officials have identified four people who died Thursday in a pileup involving more than 130 vehicles in Fort Worth.
Records from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office showed those who died in the crash included 45-year-old Aaron Luke Watson, of Fort Worth; 49-year-old Christopher Ray Vardy, of Boyd; 47-year-old Michael Henry Wells, of Justin; and 34-year-old Tiffany Louann Gerred, of Northlake.
Watson’s family friend, Sara Suttle, told KTVT that his loved ones realized something was wrong when they noticed that a location app on his phone showed he had been sitting on Interstate 35 for hours.
He’s survived by his wife, Jane, and two children, KTVT reported.
“(Watson’s wife) said, ‘Aaron’s usually the strong one,’ and she gets to fall apart,” Suttle told the news station. “And you know, she’s got their two kids and she cannot fall apart. You know, she has to be strong for them.”
Vardy worked as a program manager at InterConnect Wiring, a Fort Worth-based company that supplies military aerospace electrical products, according to a LinkedIn profile in his name. On Thursday, company officials confirmed Watson’s death in a social media post.
“It is with great sadness (we) announce that one of our beloved members of our InterConnect Wiring family, Mr. Chris Vardy, was tragically killed today (11 February 2021) in a 130-car pile-up accident due to ice on the highway,” the post read. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and two sons. RIP Chris. We miss you greatly.”
Update 5:40 p.m. ET Feb. 11: The Fort Worth Police Department confirmed that at least six people died and at least 36 people were transported to hospitals and that a total of 65 people sought medical attention from the crash.
“This was not a fender-bender,” Fort Worth Fire Department spokesperson Mike Drivdahl said. “This is a major catastrophe.”
Original report: Fort Worth police Officer Daniel Segura confirmed at a news conference on Thursday morning that at least five people have died in the crash, up from the three confirmed fatalities reported earlier in the day. That number were revised at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
“It’s still a very active scene,” Segura said around 10:30 a.m. local time. “Members of the fire department, MedStar and our traffic investigation unit detectives are working, step-by-step, the whole scene, in order to No. 1, make sure everyone who (is) on scene gets to a safe point or a safe place.”
In a tweet sent from the Fort Worth Police Department’s account, an official suggested the crash -- which involved at least 100 vehicles and stretched over about a mile -- would take hours to clear.
Matt Zavadsky, a spokesman for MedStar Health, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the company took 36 people to hospitals after the wreck. Zavadsky said several people appeared to have critical or serious injuries.
Police and fire officials said around 6:30 a.m. Thursday that the northbound lanes of Interstate 35 were closed due to a crash involving “multiple vehicles” and “multiple people trapped.”
The crashes happened as the area remained under a winter weather advisory due to freezing rain and sleet, according to the National Weather Service’s Fort Worth office. Forecasters with NWS warned that the conditions could create “very slippery sidewalks, roads, and bridges” through Thursday afternoon.
The advisory expired at noon local time.
“We can’t stress enough that road conditions could go from good to dangerous within blocks,” official with NWS said Thursday morning in a Twitter post. “Take it slow out there.”
Check back for updates to this developing story.