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Crane Collapse Crushes Pickup on I-10 Near Beaumont

A crane boom crushed a pickup truck carrying two residents of Friendswood on I-10 yesterday afternoon near Smith Road. Both passengers were killed in the Beaumont crane accident. The Department of Public Safety (DPS), OSHA, and TxDOT are all investigating the incident.

The occupants of the pickup truck, men aged 37 and 42, were traveling westbound when the crane boom collapsed on them. The DPS initially thought that the crane had fallen off of a commercial vehicle, but they found later that the crane was actually in use when it “malfunctioned” and came apart. Both men died at the scene.

Construction crews nearby were operating the crane when the equipment fell. The crew was reportedly working on the I-10 widening project at the time. The contractor involved in the incident has been determined to be Johnson Brothers Corporation, which was contracted to build a new overpass near the scene of the accident.

Johnson Brothers Corporation issued a statement regarding the accident:

“In response to the incident which occurred on the construction site located along I-10, involving subcontractor Hemphill Construction, our thoughts and prayers are with all involved in this incident. Johnson Bros. Corporation, along with TxDOT, is investigating the circumstances behind this incident and has no further comment at this time.”

Johnson Bros. is a child company of Southland Holdings, a large Dallas-based firm that builds infrastructure projects globally. It is one of the largest construction firms in Texas, with 50,000 completed projects in 60 countries, per its website.

Local news media reporting on this accident includes:

Second Crane Collapse Involving Johnson Bros. Corporation?

Before the crane collapse in Beaumont yesterday, Johnson Brothers Corporation was previously in the news for a crane accident in 2017. A crane operated by Johnson Bros. toppled over during a project in Daytona Beach nearly four years ago, dropping a 119-foot piling in the process. No one was injured in that incident, although it made the local news.

If this company has a history of crane malfunctions, poor operation, and accidents, then it makes the tragic death of these two men preventable. Johnson Brothers Corporation handles a high number of federal and state projects, which means their work must be held to a higher standard for the sake of public safety. We cannot allow companies like these to operate with impunity if they have a record of mishaps and negligence.

This is a developing story, and we'll provide updates as more information is uncovered. Our hearts go out to the families who lost loved ones in yesterday's accident. We sincerely hope those at fault are held accountable for their actions.

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