December 08, 2004
Leadership of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory expressed their deep concern today after a vanpool accident that took the life of three riders and injured several others.
"All of us at JPL are shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of several of our colleagues in this tragic accident," said JPL Director Dr. Charles Elachi, who was on business travel in Washington. "This is a terrible loss for all of us, but most particularly for the victims' families and their immediate co-workers here at the Laboratory."
The Laboratory is mourning the loss of Dorothy Forks, an employee in JPL's Human Resources Department; Jane Galloway, a manager in JPL's Business Operations Office and Kerri Lynn Agey, an administrator for Wackenhut Security, a contractor at JPL.
According to law enforcement sources, the van carrying 10 riders from the Palmdale/Lancaster area to JPL near Pasadena went off the road on Angeles Forest Highway in the Angeles National Forest. The riders included six JPL employees, two NASA employees, and two employees of JPL contractor companies.
"We would particularly like to thank the public safety agencies that responded so quickly and effectively to help our people in the van," said Elachi. "The California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff and other agencies provided invaluable help."
The injured were transported to area hospitals. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, two had been released. According to the hospitals, two remain hospitalized in fair condition, one in good condition, and two others are listed as critical but stable.
JPL employs a total of 5,500 employees and contractors at its main facility in the San Gabriel foothills above Pasadena. Approximately 450 employees participate in 30 vanpool groups bringing in workers from around the greater Los Angeles basin.
Veronica McGregor (818) 354-9452