By CLINT FOSTER
Over the course of the past two weeks, two people have died in car accidents and both in relatively the same area outside of Santo.
The first accident occurred Aug. 28 on Interstate 20 by the U.S. Highway 281 exit ramp. Texas Department of Public Safety Senior Trooper Gary M. Rozzell said Lacy Smith Jr., 53, of Dallas ran out of gas around 11 p.m. and left his car near the off ramp to go fill up his gas can. As Smith was walking back to his car in the right lane of traffic, a 2012 Mazda, westbound on I-20, struck Smith and killed him.
Rozzell said Smith was wearing dark clothes so the driver of the Mazda could not see him. Rozzell said the driver knew he hit something, so he quickly pulled over at a nearby store to report the accident. The driver was at the scene when DPS arrived. Rozzell said the case was taken to the district attorney, but he believed no charges were filed under the circumstances.
Fast forward to Sunday around 12:14 p.m. – in the same area on I-20 – when, according to Rozzell, Warren William Griffith, 71, of Irving was driving his 2004 Mercury Mountaineer westbound on I-20 and moved left on the roadway and struck the guardrail on the overpass over U.S. 281. Griffith’s vehicle rolled and ripped off the driver’s side door before it came to rest on the guardrail. Griffith was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Rozzell said no alcohol was involved.
Behind this accident, yet another occurred, but there were no fatalities. Rozzell said traffic was stopped within less than a quarter-mile of Griffith’s accident and a semi was stopped behind a vehicle. Rozzell said a 2003 Chevrolet SUV came westbound behind the semi and swerved to avoid hitting it. The driver swerved right, fishtailed in the grass and made a 180-degree turn before it came back up on the highway and slid into a 2003 Ford pickup’s right rear corner with its passenger side. The pickup drove away from the scene, but one of the passengers in the Chevy was transported by Air Evac to John Peter Smith Hospital with minor injuries. The Chevy was towed and the driver was issued a citation for failure to control speed.
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