Fiery collision leaves one dead

Published 3:02 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Police believe speed was likely a factor in a multiple vehicle wreck that caused a Jeep to burst into flames leaving the driver dead on Tuesday.

The deceased is a Port Arthur man whose name has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

According to police, the Jeep and several other vehicles were stopped at the red light, headed southbound on Memorial Boulevard when they were struck by a truck around 12:15 p.m. at the intersection of Memorial Boulevard and 39th Street.

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Port Arthur Police Lt. Michael Fratus said the investigation is ongoing but it appears the Dodge truck hit the Jeep that struck the second truck.

“All I can confirm at this time is that speed was likely a factor in the multiple car accident with an unidentified victim,” Fratus said.

Port Arthur Fire Capt. Mike Free said the Jeep was fully engulfed in fire when they fire department arrived. Besides the fatality, the two drivers of the trucks involved were sent to The Medical Center of Southeast Texas with non-life threatening injuries.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the City of Port Arthur issued a message to residents regarding the closure of the Memorial Boulevard and 39th Street intersection.

Neighbors who lived down the side street south of the intersection said they heard a loud boom believed to be from the vehicle explosion. Many walked up to the intersection to see the aftermath.

Maegan LeBlanc, who witnessed the wreck and was reporting it to authorities said all she knew is that one of the cars hit another car which hit another and it went from there.

Jeremiah Wood, who lives nearby, said he heard two explosions.

“It sounded like gunshots,” Word said. “I came outside to see what happened and saw flames and smoke.”

Justice of the Peace Marc Derouen was at the scene and pronounced the victim deceased.

I.C. Murrell contributed to this story