PORT ARANSAS, Texas — For the crew at Mrs. Woody Jr.'s Wrecker Service, responding to a crash on TX-361 is nothing new, but nothing could prepare them for what happened Thursday.
They responded to a crash involving one of their own.
One toolbox was untouched at Mrs. Woody Friday morning. That toolbox belonged to Albert Moreno who was seriously injured on Thursday.
“This was probably one of the worst accidents I've been to in my ten years of being in Port Aransas,” Stuart Salmon said.
Salmon, Moreno’s co-worker at Mrs. Woody, was called to the scene. He soon realized this was no ordinary call.
“I recognized the wheels on his truck, that's when it clicked,” Salmon said. “That's when the day got worse.”
Salmon said he didn’t know what to do as he looked on, feeling helpless, watching emergency crews work to save his friend.
Firefighters needed the Jaws of Life to remove Moreno from his truck.
“Extraction from the vehicle was a sigh of relief,” Salmon said. “Then they put him in the ambulance, he's stabilizing, then HALO-Flight arrived. Dude's going to get to ride in a helicopter, that's on my bucket list.”
A slight joke on an otherwise tough day for Salmon, who believes Moreno would appreciate the humor.
“That's Albert, he would find the humor in it and he'd enjoy it,” said Salmon. “And he will enjoy it.”
It was Salmon who let other co-workers know what was happening.
“It was heartbreaking for all of us,” Korri Cardin said.
Cardin was in the office when Salmon called in.
As shop manager, she said the place wouldn't be the same without Moreno, who simply showed up one day after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, asking if he could help.
“He's the best,” Cardin said. “His wife works with us, they're a beautiful couple, they have beautiful children. Albert really is the heartbeat of this.”
That heart is still beating, just a little heavier.
Meanwhile, co-workers are amazed with the response they've received from the Port Aransas community in the form of donations.
A gofundme set up by shop owner Christina Bell had received more than $12,000 in pledges as of Friday afternoon.
As co-workers process their emotions following Thursday's crash, they are confident of one thing, that Moreno will be back before they know it, running circles around everyone.