I started shooting for ABC 13, Capital Cities Communications in 1976. My first big story along with almost the entire crew was the ammonia truck explosion on 610 and 59 in front of the old Houston Post building on May 11th, 1976. Arriving there were people everywhere, some dead, some seriously injured, and many helping one another. I stayed on the scene for about an hour before I was sent to several local Rice Food and Weingarten Grocery Stores in the area. The reason was, people were clearing the shelves of ammonia, inhaling it, and then going to the hospital in the hope to be a big lawsuit against the ammonia transport company. Watch the video as it is a prime example of how the news has changed over the years. Back then as bad as it sounds if you did not have the body shot(dead body) you did not have a story. There was no HIPPA, in the video, you will see crews in Twelve Oaks and Bellaire Hospital Emergency Rooms interviewing patients being treated and ER Doctors and Nurses as they worked on them. We listened to scanners back then but also had 2-way radios between Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Houston Fire Department. Those came in handy many times especially when a Hozizon Properties plane crashed west of Houston Intercontinental Airport (Bush now) in what was called the “Black Hole”, a swamp surrounded by Hardy, Feral Road, Aldine Westfield, and Rankin Road. On the night the DC-3 crashed fog was very heavy. One photographer, Jim Preist was going to the scene and didn’t realize he turned on Hardy instead of Aldine Westfield. As he sped down the road at a high speed a woman was seen crawling out of the ditch. She was a survivor. Using the HFD radio crews were guided to the scene.
MAY 11, 1976
AMMONIA TRUCK CRASHES ON I610 AT US 59 INJURING HUNDREDS AND KILLING SEVERAL
It was the worst accident in Houston history. On May 11, 1976, at 11:08 in the morning, a tank truck carrying 7,500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia lost control, crashed through a guardrail and careened off a ramp to the freeway below.
The tractor-trailer struck a column on the way down, and landed on the Southwest Freeway, rupturing the tank and releasing a deadly cloud of ammonia over the busy 610 at 59 interchanges.
Those who weren’t injured in the initial accident found themselves trapped in a cloud of gas and running for their lives. One person was killed in the accident and five people were killed from inhaling anhydrous ammonia. 178 people were injured from the ammonia fumes, including 78 who had to be hospitalized.
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the probable cause of the accident was the excessive speed of the vehicle combined with the lateral surge of liquid in the partially loaded truck, which caused it to overturn.
may 11, 2006
CONROE DRUG COURT -JUDGE HAMILTON
MAY 11, 2007
SAMSON GONZALES FAMILY HOME ON GARRET ROAD IN NEW CANEY WAS RAIDED
MAY 11, 2010
FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE HOUSE FIRE IN CRYSTAL FOREST
A little after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night Cut n Shoot firefighters were dispatched to a house fire on Crystal Forest Drive at Crystal Forest Ct. On arrival heavy fire was showing through the roof and a second alarm was called for. Caney Creek, North Montgomery, and Conroe assisted as Splendora assisted by backing into the Cut n Shoot station to cover the area in case of another call. The fire was brought under control within about 45 minutes.
The Montgomery County Fire Marshals Office is investigating.
MAY 11, 2014
WARREN DIEPRAAM ON UPCOMING TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT
MAY 11, 2015
SPLENDORA SHATTERED LIVES
The Montgomery County Shattered Lives Program for Splendora High School has been planned for almost a year. Law enforcement, helicopters, ambulances, funeral homes, hospitals and local businesses are all involved and were ready to go. That’s when Mother Nature tried to change things but wasn’t successful.
The program which should have started after 8 was delayed until officials were sure severe weather was out of the area.
At 9:30 am alarms sounded as fire and EMS rolled into the mock crash scene at Splendora High School. With all the students outside to watch the presentation directed toward the dangers of drinking and driving, the rain started. However, the program continued as firefighters cut victims from cars, ambulances were loaded with the injured and body car with deceased victims.
As it ended the rain almost stopped but clouds seemed to be ready to open again very soon.
MAY 11, 2015- 242 FLYOVER OPENS
MAY 11, 2017
COURTHOUSE BOMB THREAT
Just after 9am a call came into the 911 call center. The caller stated a friend stated they were placing 7 pipe bombs in the Montgomery County Courthouse Annex. This is the building that houses the District Attorney’s Office, Judge Hamilton, Judge Michalk and Judge Grant. At the time, Judge Michalk was in trial on the punishment phase of an aggravated sexual assault of a child case. Elias Artega Ramon was found guilty by a jury after 7pm Wednesday night. The punishment phase of that trial was going on today when the threat came in. The caller did state some of the devices were aimed at Judge Michalk. Police do not believe he was in reference to the current case she is hearing. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Spencer said the voice of the caller was unique. Detectives are now investigating.
MAY 11, 2020
ROMAN FOREST AUTO VS TRAIN
Just before 10 am a female driver, her son, husband, and 3 puppies were traveling west on Roman Forest Blvd. in Roman Forest. As she approached the intersection of I-69 vehicle was stopped for the traffic light. The female driver stopped on the railroad tracks. As she did the gates came down trapping her vehicle. A southbound Union Pacific train was coming at full speed. That is when the female jumped out, grabbed her son and her husband jumped out. They had just gotten around the gates when the train struck the car. driving it into the ditch. The three were not injured. The crossing was closed until noon as DPS and Union Pacific investigated the crash.