Wedding party gets stranded on 59

May 18, 2009 8:46:22 PM PDT
A local newlywed couple's wedding festivities were delayed because their house party was stuck on the Southwest Freeway this past weekend. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The limo broke down at Highway 59 and Fannin. The reason why turned what was supposed to be a fun and happy occasion into an afternoon filled with frustration.

Dressed to the nines and stranded on the side of the freeway is not what Gabriel Salazar, the best man in his friend's wedding, had in mind. What's more, the timing couldn't have been worse.

"This was after the church and we're headed to take pictures and we never got there," said Salazar.

They would eventually get to Rice University, but not in the stretch limousine they started out in. Salazar remembers sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.

"All of the sudden, the car turns off and we're wondering what's going on," said Salazar.

The driver suspected water in the fuel tank and he was right. Stuck on the side of the highway for 30 minutes, Salazar and the limo's 10 other passengers were left with few options.

"Everybody's calling everybody, looking for a ride," he said. "It was just hell."

It wasn't just their limo. Two others operated by Sam's Limousine Service experienced similar problems.

"Our dispatch was in chaos," said Ron Jones with Sam's. "We had three cars with three different clients, they were very upset, very dangerous positions."

Jones says the gas was purchased at a Chevron station on Richmond at Dunvale. The clerk at the service station told us the manager is aware of the situation and is handling it. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is now investigating. Jones, in the meantime, is out $3,000.

"If they pay me back, that's great," said Jones. "We still lost customers. In the long run, that's a huge loss."

Salazar and the wedding party made their appointment with just minutes to spare. It was truly a wedding day to remember, after a slight delay.

"The reception was a lot better," said Salazar. "A lot better."

We've learned that several other limousine companies experienced similar problems. The TCEQ will be checking petroleum storage tanks at the Chevron station. In doing so, investigators will be able to find out if the gas was contaminated in the storage tank.

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