By CLINT FOSTER
The soaking showers that have rolled through Palo Pinto County in the last few days have been welcome for many reasons, but they also led to three accidents on Monday, one of which proved to be fatal.
The first and worst of the Monday wrecks was actually in Eastland County, just southwest of Strawn, on Interstate 20 near mile marker 360 on Ranger Hill. According to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Fred Biddle, five minutes before 11 a.m., four vehicles were driving east, down the hill in the rain – two 18-wheelers, a truck and a Pontiac G5.
Biddle said, likely because of a combination of the rain and 75 mph speed limit, one of the 18-wheelers “jack-knifed” and struck the other three vehicles. The driver of the Pontiac, 24 year-old Virginia Hutto of Cisco, died at the scene.
She was transported to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner in Fort Worth, where she was pronounced dead. Biddle said although Hutto was wearing her seatbelt, her small car simply did not stand much of a chance against the semi-truck on a collision course.
The second accident occurred much later, around 11:30 p.m. in Mineral Wells. According to a Mineral Wells Police Department crash report, the driver of a black 2005 Dodge Stratus was heading west on U.S. Highway 180 when he lost control at the intersection with State Highway 337. The car slide south, across two lanes of traffic, and struck a utility pole on the side of the road.
MWPD and Mineral Wells Emergency Medical Services responded to the crash. According to the report, the driver was transported by AirEvac Lifeteam to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.
The third accident Monday was in the 5500 block of Palo Pinto Highway.
Mineral Wells EMS assisted a DPS trooper with the accident and transported on person to Palo Pinto General Hospital. The DPS could provide no further information about this accident as of Tuesday afternoon.