1st Houston storm-related lawsuit alleges failures after deadly crane collapse

Jessica Willey Image
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
1st storm-related lawsuit alleges failures in deadly crane collapse
Crosby Ware's lawsuit against four companies in the Houston Ship Channel allege negligence over a crane collapse from the destructive storm.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A man who survived a crane collapse that killed another man has filed the first lawsuit following last week's deadly storm.

Crosby Ware, 66, suffered severe head, neck, and back injuries, according to attorney Kevin Haynes of Kherkher Garcia, LLP.

Ware is suing Sesco Cement, ASI Industrial, Lampson International, and McRay Crane & Rigging, all of which operate in the 7300 block of Wingate along the Houston Ship Channel.

The high winds toppled two cranes at the job site on the evening of May 16 as the storm was rolling through Houston. A video circulating on social media shows the unsteady and chaotic moments. Workers ran for their lives.

One crane hit two occupied cement trucks. Juan Francisco Hernandez, 72, was killed by a direct hit. What appears to be cabling from the crane hit Ware's cab.

"It just threw his body around violently and severely hurt him," Haynes said. "He is lucky to be alive."

According to the lawsuit, the companies' "gross negligence and conscious decision to value profits over safety" resulted in "catastrophic" injuries. Winds are believed to have been between 90 and 100 mph.

"Our position is, at the minimum, the crane should have been cradled, and the guys should have been in a muster area to render them safe if not completely shut down," Haynes said.

The location where the incident happened is Sesco's national headquarters, according to its website.

Online Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records show Sesco was fined nearly $100,000 in 2021 for various health and safety violations at the location. Sesco did not respond to a request for comment.

Hernandez's family is represented by The Pinkerton Law Firm.

On Monday, SkyEye captured the two cranes still lying where they fell. Ware's attorneys also filed a temporary restraining order to preserve the scene.

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SEE ALSO: Mom of 4 moving SUV during storm among at least 8 killed during Thursday's severe weather

Christin Martinez, a mom of four, was among at least seven killed from the intense storms that tore through the Houston area, her family told ABC13.