Two were brothers. Two were father and son. One was a woman in what remains a largely male field.
All were part of a common work family.
Six construction workers died together Wednesday afternoon when a driver on the Baltimore Beltway that the crew was working to expand struck another vehicle, sending her car hurtling into the construction zone.
The driver, Lisa Adrienne Lea, 54, of Randallstown remained at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center on Friday and was in fair condition, a spokeswoman said. The other driver, Melachi Brown, 20, of Windsor Mill, was unhurt.
Police and state highway officials said Friday that investigations into the deaths are ongoing. The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating.
Still feeling shock at the loss of their loved ones, family and friends on Friday paid tribute as they began making funeral and memorial arrangements.
That Mahlon Simmons II would be killed seems unbelievable to one of his former co-workers, who said the 52-year-old Union Bridge resident was the one who always looked out for everyone else.
“He always had his head on a swivel,” said Keon Butler, 34, who had worked with Simmons and his son and namesake, Mahlon Simmons III, 31, who also was killed. “He was very good at his job.”
Butler remembered a time on another site when a worker cut himself on the arm with a circular saw.
“We panicked,” Butler said.
But “Stick,” as the elder Simmons was known, pressed his fingers down on the man’s wounded arm, Butler said. They got the injured co-worker help, and he was able to return to work later, he said.
Another time, Butler said, “a deer got hit on the highway and we didn’t know what to do.
“Stick grabbed [the deer’s] hind legs and threw him over by the side,” Butler, 34, said. “He was so strong.”
[ Video: Footage from I-695 accident that killed six workers ]
Butler, who lives in Fort Washington, said that when he worked with them, the elder Simmons was a superintendent and field manager and his son, known as M.J. and also from the Carroll County community of Union Bridge, was a foreman. Butler said Simmons taught a gun safety class, and that the father-son pair liked to fish and hunt deer and geese in West Virginia.
“They were stand up guys,” he said.
Brothers Jose Armando Escobar, 52, and Carlos Orlando Villatoro Escobar, 43, were also the kind of people who took care of others, said the former’s son.
“They were really hardworking people always providing for everybody else in the family, and they were always positive,” Cristian Escobar, 29, said Friday afternoon in the living room of his father’s home in Frederick.
His father left home in El Salvador in 1990 and made his way to Maryland, and his younger brother met him here in 2004.
“One of the things he always said was, ‘My hands are good; my feet are good; I can work,’” Cristian Escobar said. “He was always trying to take care of our family with us over here and our grandparents over there.”
Jose Armando Escobar had four kids. He liked to spend his free time fishing the Atlantic Ocean or the Potomac River and watching soccer, mainly Real Madrid. Carlos had three kids and a granddaughter.
The brothers spoke of returning to El Salvador one day, to “rest for the rest of their days,” he said. They were the oldest and second youngest of seven siblings, and their parents still live in Anamorós in the state of La Union in Eastern El Salvador, a small town with around 16,000 people.
“Now they’re going back, but not in the way we expected them to be,” Cristian Escobar said.
The family is hosting services in Frederick next weekend, before sending the brothers to be laid to rest in El Salvador.
Even in his grief, Cristian Escobar thought of the other four families similarly bereft.
“It’s four more people whose families are suffering right now,” he said. “My condolences to all of them as well because it’s a hard time for them and it’s a hard time for us.”
George H. Durm III would agree.
The husband of Sybil Lee DiMaggio spent Friday retrieving her belongings, arranging for a funeral and remembering the “tiny, little wiry woman with a big smile.”
Both 46 years old, they had been friends at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severna Park, went their separate ways only to reunite about 4 1/2 years ago, Durm said. They married about a year later, he said.
He said he “stalked” her on a cruise featuring her favorite band, 311. But it was DiMaggio, the mother of two children in their 20s, who not so much proposed as decided.
“She told me we were going to get married,” Durm said.
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She loved the outdoors, whether it was camping, music festivals or her beloved gardens, where she grew vegetables and fruits to feed her loved ones and to can, he said. There are nine gardens, and he doesn’t know how he’ll manage to take over their care.
“There are berries, garlic, sunflowers … peppers on peppers,” he said. “The kale, the mustard greens are starting to come up now.”
Durm said he doesn’t know how she managed to pack so much in her life.
“The world just needs to know she had energy beyond what anyone could have,” he said. “And she had a kindness I couldn’t understand.”
She didn’t like being indoors, and so she chose a job where she could be outside, Durm said. She loved it and the crews she worked with, he said.
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“She has worked in high rises where she climbed up scaffolding. She worked on the side of freeways,” he said.
Family and friends of DiMaggio are invited to gather at Singleton Funeral & Cremation Services in Glen Burnie on Tuesday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. There will be a family remembrance at 7 p.m. and a private inurnment at a later date.
The family of Rolando Ruiz, 46 of Laurel, who also was killed at the construction site on Wednesday, could not be located.
To honor the fallen workers, Gov. Wes Moore directed the Maryland flag be lowered to half-staff until sunset Friday.
Baltimore Sun reporter Lillian Reed contributed to this article.