DENTON (1080 KRLD) - Seven months after a fiery, chain reaction accident in Denton killed three people, authorities have finally released a report. It shows the driver of a semi that was hauling propane failed to control his speed, setting off a series of catastrophic events.
According to the accident report, the accident happened November 8, 2019 on I-35 W near the 84 mile marker.
The report says traffic in both of the northbound lanes had slowed to a crawl. Among those in the backup was Ann Marie Cole, 63, Denton. She was the last car to slow before the accident happened.
The report says the driver of the semi, Michael Duane Coleman, 60, of Enid Oklahoma was hauling 27 propane tanks for a company in Kingfisher OK. Some were empty, some partially filled. Coleman slammed into the rear of Cole’s Ford F 150. The truck, in turn, was pushed into the rear of a Ford Taurus driven by Jennifer Kara Ferguson (the report says she also went by Wharton). Both vehicles exploded, instantly killing the women.
The force of the impact was tremendous. The wreckage struck a semi tractor trailer in front of Ferguson so hard that the semi hit yet another car in front of him, injuring three more people. In fact, the Denton Fire Department thought that a single car had exploded. It was not until they extinguished the flames that they were able to see that Cole’s truck had folded over and there was a car beneath, making two, not one, vehicles that had caught fire.
The report says several of the propane tanks flew off Coleman’s truck, catching on fire.
Meantime, a final vehicle reached the accident scene, this one driven by Paul Sachs of Fort Worth. The report says Sachs did not hit the wreckage; rather he drove into the fire, igniting his Kia Forte. Sachs “had been declared incapable of operating a motor vehicle by TXDPS” and “Medical conditions may have hampered his ability to notice and effectively react to the crash event unfolding before him” according to the report. Sachs also died in his burning car.
The report blames Coleman for failing to control his speed and says a possible contributing factors could have been “fatigue or asleep.”
KRLD News contacted members of each of the families of the victims. All declined comment for this report.