The investigation of the June 2, 2016, Army truck crash at Fort Hood — which claimed the lives of eight soldiers and a West Point cadet — placed much of the blame for the accident on the staff sergeant in charge in the transport convoy, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News this week.
The investigation, according to the Morning News, blames the accident on a series of three successive decisions made by Staff Sgt. Miguel Angel Colonvazquez, a combat veteran who also drowned when the Army truck he and the others were in overturned into Fort Hood’s Owl Creek during a flash flood.
Colonvazquez, 38, from Brooklyn, N.Y., was an experienced noncommissioned officer who had extensive driving time in various Army trucks and who had led tactical convoys after entering active-duty service in July 2003, according to the investigation.
The investigation report was given to the Dallas Morning News by San Angelo resident Ricky DeLeon, the father of Pvt. Isaac Lee DeLeon, one of the soldiers who was also killed in the accident.
Neither the Army nor the 1st Cavalry Division has released the accident investigation. The Herald requested copies of the report months ago.
Colonvazquez made three key decisions that led to the crash, the Morning News reported: The first decision was to lead the convoy off the paved road onto the tank trail. The second decision was to continue along the tank trail even after crossing the two large pools. The third decision was to try crossing Owl Creek at the low-water crossing point instead of using the nearby bridge. The use of the bridge, the investigation emphasized, “would have prevented the accident.”
The report placed the lion’s share of blame on Colonvasquez, according to the Morning News, but it also recommended that three leaders associated with the unit receive General Office Memorandum of Reprimand for negligence of duties. Those leaders, whose names were blacked out in the report, were not with the convoy when the accident occurred because it was considered “Sergeant’s Time Training,” a chance for senior sergeants to do practical, hands-on training with junior enlisted soldiers.
The investigation cited the three leaders for not doing more ahead of time to reduce the risks to the patrol considering the weather conditions and the inexperience of the young soldiers, according to the Morning News.
The eight soldiers who died were part of the 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
“Our son Isaac is dead because of irresponsibility. It was a bad situation where they never should have been out there,” Ricky DeLeon told the Morning News.
The father said the entire leadership of Fort Hood should bear responsibility for his child’s death.