Three employees at a NASA jet propulsion laboratory in California were killed this week when a carpool van went off a mountain road, injuring seven.
The 10 workers in the van were taking a well-traveled shortcut known as the “Palmdale 500” when the van ran off the two-lane Angeles Forest Highway and rolled as it plunged about 200 feet, according to reports.
NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe said the space agency and the NASA facility there were grieving the losses of three valuable employees.
“This is a sad day for the NASA Family. [The] accident involving employees of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has taken the lives of three of our own: Dorothy M. Forks, an employee records specialist in JPL’s Human Resources Office, Jane F. Galloway, a manager in JPL’s Business Operations Office, and Kerri L. Agey, an administrator for Wackenhut Security, a contractor at JPL.”
O’Keefe went on to say that of the seven passengers injured in the accident, two have been released from the hospital, one is in good condition, two are in fair condition, one has been upgraded from critical condition to poor condition, and one remains in critical but stable condition.
“We pray for the speedy recovery of those who remain hospitalized.”
O’Keefe also issued praise for local officials for the support provided at the accident scene.
“We deeply appreciate the swift and professional help provided at the accident scene on the Angeles Forest Highway by the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and other public safety organizations. On behalf of the NASA Family, I wish to express my sincere condolences to the families of the employees killed in the accident and deep concern to the families of those injured. We have lowered flags at all NASA Centers to half-staff to honor the memory of the three employees killed in the accident.”
On Thursday, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory held a moment of silence in respect to the employees. “May God bless our fallen colleagues and their family members,” O’Keefe said.