Authorities are investigating two accidents that occurred on the Grand Parkway (I-99) Friday morning, killing two people and sending one person to a Houston-area trauma center.
The first accident happened around 5:41 a.m. involving a southbound 2021 Dodge 3500 Dually carrying two persons. According to Sgt. Rob Willoughby, supervisor of the Liberty County office of the Texas Department of Public Safety, a 29-year-old man from Katy was driving the dually pickup.
“The truck, for an unknown reason, left the roadway as it approached the overpass of CR 602. It then traveled down an embankment through a ditch and then on through approximately 400 yards of pasture. It then struck another ditch, went airborne, traveling over CR 602 and struck an elevated utility line before coming to rest on the roof of the vehicle,” Willoughby said.
The crash knocked down a power line and the vehicle caught on fire, which may have been caused by the downed power line. Both occupants were pronounced dead at the scene by Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Larry Wilburn.
The Katy man, as well as his female passenger, were both ejected and burned in the crash, which made identifying them difficult. As of 1 p.m., the female passenger’s identity is still unknown. The male has been identified and his next of kin have been notified, Willoughby, though his name is being withheld at this time.
“We had to wait to access the scene until the power was shut off. Entergy had to lessen the tension on the line before we were able to move the vehicle,” Willoughby said. “We don’t think either of the occupants were restrained with seat belts.”
While authorities were investigating that crash, another major accident happened at the same location.
“While we were investigating this crash, a Ford F250 was southbound on 99 and the driver was apparently looking at the original crash scene. He crossed into the other lane, striking an 18-wheeler nearly head on in the front driver’s side,” Willoughby said.
Since state troopers were still tied up with the original crash site, which Willoughby said was quite extensive and required the use of a DPS drone, the second crash investigation was turned over to Dayton Police Department.
“Dayton PD was kind enough to investigate that crash and it is appreciated,” Willoughby said.
The driver of the Ford F250 was airlifted to a Houston-area trauma center. His condition is unknown.
Friday’s accident is the fourth fatal accident in Liberty County in a week’s time, bringing the death toll to nine.
“It’s taking a toll. It’s difficult for all the first responders who have to deal with these accidents back to back,” Willoughby said. “Drivers are getting far too complacent when driving and tend to be overly distracted by cell phones, which seems to be the going trend for the accidents we have seen, or they are driving intoxicated. Paying attention while driving, driving at or under the speed limit and being a defensive driver is only going to benefit you in the long run.”
Willoughby says there is no way to know if the drivers in the recent accidents were distracted or not as they are all dead.
“Your life is not worth the distraction in the vehicle,” he said.