HOUSTON -- A 22-month-old boy, who was riding in an SUV with his twin sister, mom, and grandmother, was crushed to death when a concrete mixer truck flipped off of a Texas overpass and landed on his family's vehicle.
The incident happened just before 2:30 p.m. Friday in east Harris County, where people working nearby were stunned to see the freak occurrence happen in front of them.
According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the concrete mixer was heading southbound on Beltway 8 East when it began to rain in the area. The truck then lost control on the slick roadway, crashed through a barrier wall, and flew off the overpass and toward the frontage road below.
In a moment of tragic timing, the heavy truck landed on an SUV going through the intersection.
That moment was captured on a workplace security camera nearby.
"Holy (expletive)! Holy (expletive)!" one of the workers is heard saying in video obtained by Houston's KTRK-TV.
"It landed on a car! It landed on a car!" another worker says.
Several people in that business rushed out to the wreckage to do anything they could to save the people inside.
"We tried to grab the baby initially, first and foremost. She was kind of pinned in, and I was reaching back, (but) the front seat was a little hard to get. And he just starts yanking on the front seat. I started yanking on the car seat for the baby to get her out and we were actually able to get her out before she was pinned in," said Raymond Romo, who tried to help.
Lt. Simon Cheng, who is with the sheriff's Vehicular Crimes Division, said a 54-year-old woman was in the driver's seat and a 22-year-old was in the front passenger seat. A boy and a girl were in the backseat.
The women and the girl were able to escape, but witnesses said the boy was trapped.
"We tried to do what we can," said Joe Tijerina, another witness who went into save the family. "Everybody had to get together to see if there's anyway we can move the (concrete mixer). We had an 18-wheeler try to strap a chain to it, to pull it off. We had a big four-by-four dually truck. I mean, it just wasn't budging."
Despite the best efforts, the boy died at the scene. The women and the girl suffered only minor injuries and they were taken to the hospital.
A 36-year-old woman driving the concrete-mixing truck also sustained minor injuries. She told deputies that her vehicle started slipping just before the truck flipped off the overpass.
The truck driver also showed no signs of intoxication at the time and the vehicle's tires showed no signs of defect, Cheng said.
Towing and hazmat crews spent much of the afternoon working to remove the wreckage and clean up fuel spilled from the crash.
A crash reconstruction team, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, and the Harris County District Attorney's Office were also called to the scene as part of the investigation.
Cheng said he didn't immediately see any probable cause to support charges.
"I called my wife and told her to give my kids a hug and a kiss," Romo added, "give them a hug and a kiss because you never know."