NEWS HEADLINES

Storm leads to wrecks: Slick roads, storms prove dangerous over the weekend

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Slick roads

SLICK ROADS – An 18-wheeler hauling a Hyundai trailer jackknifed into the median after hydroplaning on US 287/81 near Hubbard Street in Alvord Saturday. Messenger photo by Austin Jackson

Rainstorms and slick roads in Wise County led to a spate of crashes Saturday with a common cause – unsafe speeds.

First responders worked six major accidents and several minor accidents from Saturday morning and that night as storms poured around 2 inches of rain across the county. In most of the accidents, which involved slick road conditions, Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Ricky Hunter cited unsafe speed as a factor in the wrecks.

The rain is expected to return Wednesday. The National Weather Service forecasts strong to severe storms, with rain and the possibility of hail and even tornadic activity.

Wise County Emergency Management Coordinator Cody Powell offered advice on how to increase safety on the roadways during rainy weather.

“Slow down,” Powell said. “When you slow down it gives you more reaction time. The slower you’re going whenever you do hit a wet spot or when there’s blockage in the road ahead of you, it gives you a longer period of time to react to that. Your chances are reduced, the slower you’re going of hydroplaning. The faster your car is going, the easier the rain can lift your car off the pavement. Simply by slowing down, you take both of those elements, and tip the scales in your favor.”

On Saturday, one of the wrecks resulted in a fatality while others required hospitalization.

Driver injured

DRIVER INJURED – A BMW passenger vehicle hydroplaned into a cement support pillar near Hubbard Street in Alvord Saturday morning. The driver, Tamela Sanchez, 49, of Lawton, Okla., was transported to Wise Health System in Decatur with undisclosed injuries. Messenger photo by Austin Jackson

In a one-hour span, between 11 a.m. and noon, three major accidents occurred on US 287/81 alone. In New Fairview, a passenger vehicle lost control and flipped into a ditch, with running water from the storms flooding into the cab.

The patient was extricated with undisclosed injuries. No further information on the wreck was available as of press time.

Two unrelated major accidents occurred within yards of each other in Alvord.

At 11:30 a.m., a BMW driven by Tamela Sanchez, 49, of Lawton, Okla., was traveling south on US 287/81 when the vehicle began to hydroplane, according to Hunter.

The vehicle slid through a road sign and came to a rest after striking a concrete support pillar of an overpass near Hubbard street. Sanchez was transported to Wise Health System in Decatur with undisclosed injuries.

A few minutes later, a white Freightliner hauling a Hyundai trailer jackknifed into the median, causing minor damage. No further information on the wreck was available as of press time.

In the evening, two more major accidents occurred. At 8:20 p.m., Cody Joe Reed, 22, of Decatur was traveling south on FM 51, approximately four miles northeast of Cottondale, when he lost control of his 2007 Dodge Ram pickup and struck a tree.

Reed died from injuries at John Peter Smith Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

At 9:50 p.m. in Alvord, Dana Lancaster, 57, was traveling south on FM 1655 near County Road 2788, in a 2018 GMC Yukon when she struck a cow. The accident shut down FM 1655 in both directions as crews worked to clear the scene.

Dana, and passenger Craig Lancaster, 58, were not injured in the wreck, according to DPS reports.

Powell said the best way to stay safe in hazardous conditions is to avoid driving if you can.

Rising water

RISING WATER — First responders had to act quick after a roll over wreck near the New Fairview city limits sign off US 287/81. A passenger vehicle flipped into the ditch and rising water began to flood into the cab before the driver was extricated. Messenger photo by Austin Jackson

“The best thing you can do, is if you don’t have to drive, don’t,” Powell said. “If you do have to drive be very careful and drive very slow. And another thing a lot of people don’t think about is to have two different routes of getting to where you’re going. When that road in front of you is shut down because of an accident or a tree is blocking the road, people get stuck because they don’t have another route, even though it exists.”

With storms projected to arrive around 3 p.m., Powell urged people to stay up to date throughout the day by paying close attention to storm forecasts. Whether it be checking the radar, Powell said knowing conditions is vital to making sure you don’t get caught in a dangerous situation.

In addition to news and National Weather Service updates, Powell said people can receive weather alerts for storms and other emergencies from the Wise County Citizen Alert System.

To sign up for the county’s system, go to wcmess.com/everbridge. If you have questions about how to sign up, email Powell at oem@co.wise.tx.us or call him at 940-627-5870. You can also contact the Wise County Sheriff’s office Communications Manager Susan Gomez at gomezs@sheriff.co.wise.tx.us or 940-627-5971.

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