Three people were killed and five were injured on June 8 in a two-pickup truck crash near Frankford that occurred at about 6:35 p.m. Frankford resident Freiner Rosales, 21, who was driving the Dodge pickup involved in the accident and two of his passengers, Selbyville 20-year-old Diego Rodriguez and Victor Rosales, 19, of Frankford were pronounced dead at the scene. Three other passengers of the Dodge and a driver and passenger of another pickup were seriously injured in the wreck.
“Medics and firefighters are describing this as one of the worst scenes they’ve ever encountered,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin, whose officers responded first. “It was pretty bad,” he added, saying so because of the number of people involved.
A 1998 Dodge pickup being driven by Freiner Rosales was traveling west on Burbage Road when it ran the stop sign at the Jones Road intersection, according to Delaware State Police. Dagsboro resident Robert Delp, 40, who was driving north on Jones Road in his 1988 Chevy pickup and had the right-of-way at the intersection, collided with the front left side of the Dodge pickup.
The Chevy and the Dodge drove off of the northwest corner of the intersection, where the Chevy rolled onto its ride side and the Dodge came to rest before its engine compartment burst into flames with the passengers inside.
Three Ocean View police officers, with the help of the Frankford Fire Company officials, began pulling the passengers from the truck’s cab. Flames from the fire were “licking” at the emergency personnel as they yanked occupants out, one by one, said OVPD Cpl. Kristin Miller, who was on the scene last Thursday night.
“It was to the point where it was smoking and it was hot,” said Miller, who is also vice president of the Bethany Beach Fire Company. “That was probably one of the worst fatality accidents that I’ve ever been on. We’ve had quite a few bad ones around here, but that was one of the worst. It was pretty much a mess.”
Miller said she initially tended to the occupants of the Chevy before helping pull passengers from of the Dodge. No one was injured by the fire, according to Delaware State Police.
Frankford Fire Company officials helped contain the fire to the engine compartment but they only had limited equipment. When they heard the crash, they were on their way to a small controlled burn less than a mile away from the scene.
“It was probably one of the worst (accidents) that I’ve ever seen,” echoed responding Frankford firefighter Hunter Holland. “There were people everywhere.”
Upon arrival, Millville Fire Company firefighters put out the fire — which was contained to the engine compartment.
Selbyville resident Romigio Lopez, 21, who was in the center-front seat of the Dodge in the accident, was treated at Beebe Medical Center for a fractured rib and released. Ramiro Romero, 20, who was in the left-rear seat, and Rolanda Mejia of Frankford (in his 30s), who was in the right-rear seat, were in worse shape. Romero was admitted with multiple to Peninsula Regional Medical Center with multiple traumas and Mejia was admitted in critical condition to Christiana hospital with multiple traumas.
State police said this week that didn’t yet know if the occupants of the Dodge were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident.
Delp, who was driving the Chevy, was not wearing his seatbelt, according to DSP Master Cpl. Jeff Oldham. Delp was treated at Beebe Medical Center before being transferred to Johns Hopkins University Hospital with head and neck trauma and a fractured femur.
Delp’s wife, Audrey Delp, 38 — who was also not wearing saeatbelt, according to police — was treated at Beebe before also being transferred to Johns Hopkins with head injuries.