Spike in Fatal Car Crashes in East Texas and Elsewhere in State

Spike in Fatal Car Crashes in East Texas and Elsewhere in StateThe last week, and month, have seen a spike in fatal car crashes in Texas, particularly East Texas. Two women, three teenage boys and a host of others have died.

The San Antonio Express-News reports on a Sunday evening crash in Frio County which killed two women. Thirty-nine-year-old Bonnie Stolzman's SUV collided with a vehicle headed southbound, driven by 56-year-old Sandy Whitaker, according to a spokeswoman from the Department of Public Safety. Both were their vehicles' sole occupants.

The crash took place south of Devine on FM 472, at the intersection with Texas 173. Authorities noted that they didn't yet know which lane the crash took place in, according to the Express-News.

The body of Sandy Whitaker was taken to the Hurley Funeral Home in Devine. The Bexar County Medical Examiner is currently in possession of Stolzman's body, the news outlet reports.

On Saturday, NBC Dallas-Forth Worth reported on the deaths of four in Wise County, Texas, on Saturday morning at 3:15 a.m. At the intersection of County Road 2445 and Farm-To-Market Road, a Ford Mustang and Ford F-350 crashed, killing the four passengers of the Mustang.

The Mustang's driver, 17-year-old Danny Nalley tried to pass another vehicle. He was driving north in the southbound lane as the truck, headed southbound, moved towards him. The drivers both swerved but still hit one another, according to the news source.

The truck's driver, 30-year-old Richard Rand, was treated for his injuries at Wise County Regional Medical Center. Nalley is in serious condition and still hospitalized as of Tuesday, reports WFAA, a local television station.

The crash, which took place on a rural road, ended in the deaths of Kevin Brickey, Vincent Williams and Vincent Lagrassa, who were all 19 years old. The name of the fourth victim in the crash has not been released.

Brickey, who recently graduated from Saginaw High School, was recognized in a vigil on Sunday evening, July 24, by over 200 friends and family members, according to the news outlet. Trisha Largent said the vigil was for Brickey's family. She said, "His family, they look at us like the friends that are going to be strong. That's what we are all here for."

In East Texas, car crashes have been noticeably cropping up over the past months, reports the Tyler Morning Telegraph. Jim Cotton, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation based in Austin, said that there has been, however, a drop in fatal crashes from May to July this year, likely caused by new legislation and education efforts on safe driving.

Since May, almost 34 people have died in traffic accidents in Wood, Van Zandt, Cherokee, Henderson, Anderson and Smith counties, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph and data from the Texas Peace Officer's Crash Reports.

The data is incomplete, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Typically, it takes up to 30 days or more for a crash to be entered into the system under car accident law, according to the news source, and so July's crashes are likely not included in the data set. For instance, a Friday crash that killed one in Jacksonville, a July 12 wreck that killed one near Rusk and a July 14 crash that killed two on Texas Highway 31 all are not included, the news outlet reports.

Michael Johnson, the sergeant of the Texas Department of Public Transportation, said that many of the fatalities seem to be caused by drivers' inattention on the road. He stressed that drivers should "pay attention to their driving and their surroundings."