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November 2, 2010

Wreck kills Mineral Wells woman

Two trucks collised U.S. Highway 180 East

MINERAL WELLS — A Mineral Wells woman involved in a wreck shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. Highway 180 was pronounced dead at Palo Pinto General Hospital a short time later.

Traveling eastbound in the 4100 block of U.S. 180 East, Maria Guadalupe Mendez, 36, was reportedly weaving in and out of traffic on the highway when she appeared to lose control of her brown, older model Ford F-150 pickup and veered into oncoming drive, according to police.

Witnesses said Mendez turned in front of a white westbound oilfield services company truck driven by Brandon Buffington, 29, of Graford.  

“She made a hard left turn and there was no going anywhere for him,” said Jeni Frazier, who said she was driving behind Mendez' truck.

“She looked like she was trying to pass,” said Drew Woodfin, who said he was driving behind Buffington's truck.

Neither vehicle appeared to brake before the white truck broadsided the passenger side of the brown Ford, according to witnesses.

“There was nothing he could do,” Woodfin said.

“When she bounced back, her truck door was at my truck door,” Frazier said.

Buffington told the Index he was not sure what had happened.

The road appeared damp, though it was not raining at the time of the accident, according to witnesses.

Frazier said she stopped and tried to call 911 but her phone was not working so she approached the Mendez.

Her head appeared to have struck the windshield on the passenger side and her feet were wrapped around the steering wheel, according to Frazier.

Mendez was unconscious and did not seem to breathe for about several minutes but then began moving some, Frazier said.

“I held her and told her not to move,” Frazier said.

Mineral Wells volunteer firefighters and EMS removed her through the driver's side window of the truck and transported her to Palo Pinto General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

An air ambulance was requested but was not available to fly because of weather conditions.  

Buffington said he was OK and was later taken to PPGH by private vehicle.

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