On Monday, a Washington couple and their baby boy were instantly killed after a construction slab fell from an overpass onto their Toyota pickup as they were driving on Highway 410 around 10:30 a.m. Officials are still investigating what made that incredibly massive block of concrete to fell from its place.
After hearing about the tragic accident from the news, the EastPointe Foursquare Church in Puyallup identified Vanessa and Josh Ellis, as well as Hudson Ellis, their 8-month-old son, on its Facebook page. James Ludlow, the church pastor, said that Josh and Vanessa were important members of the community because they were very beloved youth pastors at the church.
Mr. Ludlow commented Tuesday that such an absurd death of a young family was a “tragic event.” He also said that everybody was shocked to learn just how unpredictable life can really be since the three had nothing to worry about but in the blink of an eye they were already in the presence of God.
Seemingly, construction workers were trying Monday to install a sidewalk on the Highway 410 overpass about 30 miles away from Seattle when the concrete slab destabilized and fell on the Ellisses’ car as they drove under the span.
Dawn Nelson who was driving behind the couple’s pickup on that fateful morning recalled he was just heading down the street when he heard three snaps. The next thing he remembers was the construction slab on top of the Toyota pickup. He said he helplessly watched what was going on before his eyes and described everything as being “surreal.”
Emergency crews that rushed at the scene said that the damage made to the Toyota was so total that they initially believed that there was only one person in the vehicle when the accident occurred.
However, officials couldn’t tell what caused the slab to fall. As of Tuesday, the Department of Transportation, the Bonney Lake police, and the contractor that was supposed to build the sidewalk were still investigating.
A city spokesperson said that the slab was part of the span which was built about 23 years ago. The span was recently evaluated and scored a 95.3 out of 100 percent sufficiency rating.
The city sidewalk was a project that cost more than $1.8 million. The goal of the project, which started a month ago, was to grant access to pedestrians along the highway. Woody Edvalson, a Bonney Lake city’s spokesman, acknowledged that the accident was the unfortunate result of that project.
According to project papers, the north side of the bridge was supposed to be rebuilt, a new sewer line was expected to be added, and the highway was planned to be widened. But all these plans are currently suspended until the police investigation reaches its final conclusions.
In the past days, people installed a cross, and brought flowers and a teddy bear near the overpass where the accident happened. Yesterday, there was still debris from the slab on the road.
The couple’s pastor described Josh and Vanessa as highly affectionate people whom kids from the congregation liked to have around. According to the pastor, they were the type of people everybody loves and gravitates to.
Another pastor at the local church, Shane Lance, described the two young adults as “sweet, lighthearted people.” He also said that everybody’s hearts were aching and that they would be missed.
Image Source: Oregon Live