BY ROBERT MORALES
Last Saturday evening, I experienced one of the most gruesome, horrific scenes Iâ€™ve ever seen. I was outside when I saw black plumes of smoke coming from the east. At first I thought it could be Loveâ€™s or Chevron on fire, and I immediately jumped in my truck and drove on the east service road of I-10 to get closer to the fire.
When I arrived, it was like a scene from an action movie. An 18-wheeler was on fire, but from the service road vantage point, I couldnâ€™t see the full extent of what had happened. I walked across eastbound I-10 onto the median between the two interstates. There were multiple cars and semi-tractor trailers parked along both side of the interstate, not to mention countless people on the scene.
As is always the case in a major accident, a reporter should be there long enough to gather facts and information, take photos and leave. I spoke with a man from El Paso who had witnessed the accident, and his recollection of events mirror those of Sgt. Elizabeth Barney from El Paso Department of Public Safety.
The deceased, Justin Wayne Taylor, had suffered a blowout as he passing the witness, and his vehicle veered onto the median and smashed head-on with the 18-wheeler.
I was watching in disbelief as firefighters were pouring water on Mr. Taylorâ€™s pickup that was now so crunched up that it was less than half its original size. Mr. Taylor was still inside, and it was apparent that he would likely not be alive even after the fire was extinguished.
Mr. Taylor did not survive the disastrous accident.
Itâ€™s tragic events like these that make us realize how vulnerable we all are, but itâ€™s also events like these that allow to reflect about those who serve us.
I commend all the EMS personnel on hand, as well as the medical staff from Culberson Hospital, DPS troopers, Border Patrol, Sheriff Carrillo and his deputies, and most of all, the Van Horn Volunteer Fire Department.
The Fire Department responds to every emergency involving a fire, and they are not on any governmental payroll â€“ in other words, they donâ€™t get paid. They freely give of their time because they love the work they do, and we are indebted to them for the service they provide to Van Horn and Culberson County.
Please thank our volunteer firefighters the next time you run into one of them. Who knows? One of them may be the one saving your life.