Fort Worth

Victims in Icy Fort Worth Interstate Pileup Identified

Six people died and at least 65 people were treated at hospitals, authorities have confirmed

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We are now learning more about those who died in a massive crash involving more than 130 vehicles on an icy portion of Interstate 35W Thursday morning in Fort Worth.

Six people died and dozens more were injured when more than 130 cars, trucks and loaded 18-wheelers smashed into each other along southbound North Texas Express toll lanes between NE 28th Street and Northside Drive.

Online records from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office listed the deceased as the following.

Tiffany Gerred, 34, of Northlake
Aaron Watson, 45, of Fort Worth
Michael Wells, 47, of Justin
Christopher Vardy, 49, of Boyd
William Williams, 54, of Pahoa, Hawaii
Tamara Mendoza Querales of Fort Worth

On Friday, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley confirmed Gerred was a county employee working as an administrative court clerk.

"I did not know Tiffany, but in addition to Tiffany working here, her mother also works here. So, both she and her mother work for our District Clerk," Judge Whitley said. "I just can’t imagine the shock and the grief the family is going through, as well as the department. I mean, these are our family. We talk often about the Tarrant County family."

Tiffany Gerred, left, was killed in a crash on Interstate 35W in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
Gerred Family
Tiffany Gerred, left, was killed in a crash on Interstate 35W in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.

According to Whitley, at least six county employees were stuck in the wreck.

"We had, I think, four from the Sheriff’s office," he said. "One of our DA’s investigators actually had one of the 18-wheeler trailers turned over on them. Car in front of this person was smashed. One behind it was also in pretty bad shape. He was able to crawl out the window."

Tarrant County District Clerk Tom Wilder sent an email to his staff regarding Gerred's death, describing her as "a beacon of light with her energetic personality.”

Gerred's family launched a GoFundMe page to help with Gerred's funeral costs and expense for her daughter.

Late Friday afternoon, district officials with the Boyd Independent School District confirmed Vardy was the husband of district superintendent Dr. Vardy.

"Dr. Tamara Vardy and her family greatly appreciate the outpouring of love and support you are giving them during this difficult time," a statement from the district read in part. "Mr. Vardy loves his family very much and is so proud of his wife and two boys. Most recently he became a part of the Boyd ISD family. You would find him at Cross Country meets riding the mule, attending One Act Play performances, and cheering from the sidelines and stands for football, basketball, and baseball."

In a statement, Wells' family thanked the first responders on the scene of the crash.

"Yesterday, our family lost an amazing, loving, hardworking and funny husband, dad, son, brother, uncle but most of all, grandpa," a statement from his family read. "Mike was a great friend to many. He never met a stranger and would do anything for anyone. Our family will never be the same."

Workers remained at the scene Friday, more than 24 hours after the tragedy, clearing the roadway of debris after vehicles were untangled and hauled away on tow trucks.

At least 65 people were treated at hospitals, with 36 of them taken by ambulance from the crash site, including three with critical injuries, said Matt Zavadsky, spokesman for MedStar. Numerous others were treated at the scene and released, he said.

The crash happened about 6 a.m., as many hospital and emergency workers were heading to and from work, so some of those involved were health care workers and emergency responders, including police officers, officials said.

“We did see a large number of people that were victims of this accident that were in scrubs, that had hospital IDs on … in some cases, our folks would know those folks,” Zavadsky said.

Fort Worth police Chief Neil Noakes said three officers were en route to work when they were injured in the crash, and one officer was injured while working the scene. He said all have been released from the hospital and that none of them suffered serious injuries.

The ice storm came as a polar vortex — swirling air that normally sits over the Earth’s poles — has moved near the U.S.-Canada border, resulting in colder weather farther south than usual.

The cold weather was just the beginning of a dangerous weather pattern that will bring intense cold and near-blizzard conditions early next week, NBC 5's Weather Experts forecast.

Copyright NBC 5 News and The Associated Press
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