Grand Parkway safety barriers questioned after deadly crash

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Channel 2 Investigates has learned that a median fence specifically designed to avoid head-on collisions was ineffective in preventing the Dec. 12 accident that killed two people on the Grand Parkway in northwest Harris County.

A detailed Texas Department of Transportation crash report obtained by Channel 2 Investigates reveals that at least two highway safety features were unable to keep the out-of-control truck from entering opposite lanes of traffic:

“Unit 1 then veered south across the westbound lanes where it entered the grassy median and struck three barricades before entering the eastbound lanes of SH-99,” the Texas Peace Officer’s Uniform Crash Report stated.

Cable fencing specifically designed to prevent traffic from crossing into opposite lanes was unable to contain the out-of-control truck as it careened off a concrete wall.

READ: Grand Parkway deadly accidents investigated

After the Ford F-150 crossed the median, it hit a guardrail lining the opposite lanes that broke apart on impact and, according to the accident report, actually served as a launch pad for the 4,500-pound truck.

“As Unit 1 struck the metal guard rail on the north side of the eastbound lanes, Unit 1 climbed the guardrail, and struck Unit 3 on the top.”

“Unit 3” was a Lexus SUV driven by Linda Fuggiti, 66. Fuggiti was killed in the accident.

“As Unit 1 struck the metal guard rail posts, a piece of one broke off ... the debris punctured the hood of Unit 2 and then entered into Unit 2 through the windshield.”

The driver of “Unit 2” survived the terrifying experience.

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But Michael Brown, 78, was also killed in the accident when he was struck by the truck and then another vehicle.

TxDOT manages this section of Grand Parkway. Unlike some other portions, the lanes and safety features are new construction, not retrofitted older portions of 99, as in certain sections of the toll road in Fort Bend County.

TxDOT spokesperson, Danny Perez, said that standard operating procedure dictates a review of every fatal accident on any road managed by the state agency.

“We want to see if there's other crashes in that area and see if there's anything we can do to improve safety in those areas,” Perez said.

TxDOT crash records indicate 24 deaths on Grand Parkway main lanes and frontage roads since Jan. 1, 2016, and three other deaths within three miles of the latest accident scene.

TXDOT records reveal 16 fatal accidents since 2010.

[Click here to view a list of additional accidents not listed in map above.]

Here's a look at the deaths by year on the Grand Parkway:

  • 2010: 2
  • 2011: 1
  • 2012: 3
  • 2013: 2
  • 2014: 3
  • 2015: 5
  • 2016: 3
  • 2017: 5

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