By LIBBY CLUETT
PALO PINTO COUNTY – Two major single motor-vehicle wrecks in Palo Pinto County – one Friday afternoon and the other Saturday afternoon – sent three individuals to a Fort Worth hospital by air ambulance.
Friday wreck near Palo Pinto
In Friday’s wreck, driver Jose Manuel Aguado-Villanueva, 35, and passenger Miguel Vatino, 32, both of Fort Worth, were injured after the 1999 Ford F-350 dually pick up they were traveling in had a front right tire blow-out, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Senior Trooper Gary Rozzell. He said they were heading eastbound, pulling a flatbed trailer with a “skid steer” – a type of earth-moving equipment.
After the blowout, he said the truck drifted to the right, into a 10- to 15-foot ravine.
The wreck, called in at 4:05 p.m., occurred about two-and-a-half miles west of Palo Pinto on U.S. Highway 180, where the speed limit was 70 mph, Rozzell said.
He added that the truck hit several trees, 6 inches to 7 inches in diameter, as is rolled down the ravine on the side of the highway.
“It uprooted one tree and busted limbs,” he said of the mesquite trees in its path that “severely damaged” the front of the vehicle and “almost doubled that pickup.”
Rozzell explained that trees were lying around and on top of the truck. While the driver was able to crawl out, he said the passenger was pinned in and the extrication “was like tunneling down into something to get into it” because of the trees.
Rozzell said one Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department Rescue crew member said the truck appeared to have “rolled up in a ball.”
Aguado-Villanueva, who was already out of the truck, told DPS troopers we was wearing his seatbelt, according to Rozzell, who added that Vatino was wearing a seatbelt, but said he was repositioned between the front and back of the cab.