"We were sitting there on the hose trying to put the stuff out and you'd see people on their phones," Dickson said. "It's like, 'Really? Pay attention to the dang road.' We see that a lot. Most of the time it's a passenger, but people driving by themselves will still have their phone out. Some of them put the phone up, and they're watching the road, but they've got the phone over there videoing so they can look at it later. I guess, I don't know what the heck they're doing."
Dickson could not confirm if the four-car wreck was directly caused by a driver on their phone, not paying attention to the road. Before the accident occurred, Dickson said he had peeled off from the burning truck to help take care of the second small grass fire about half a mile west because another fire engine had arrived on the scene.
Rozzell said he could not definitively say that a phone was involved in the four-car accident, but he surmised that the driver of the Dodge pickup would probably not have been taking pictures.
"That particular crash happened a good half mile behind where the fire was," Rozzell said. "I would not suspect [the Dodge driver] to be taking pictures or anything; he was too far back and couldn't see it. He could see the smoke maybe, but that's about all."
Rozzell added that the speed limit on that part on I-20 in 75 MPH. Therefore it is possible that the driver could have been on his phone, not paying attention, and not been able to stop from hitting the other cars while going such a high speed.
Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer said, if this accident was indeed phone-related, it would not be the first time that cellphone-related distractions have caused a serious road hazard. He recounted one incident on July 17 of this year when two of his deputies and a constable responded to a head-on collision around mile marker 386 on I-20, in the rain, no less.