Accident on Grand Parkway in Dayton claims life of elderly woman

A single-vehicle accident around 11:16 a.m. Tuesday on the Grand Parkway near the intersection of FM 686 in Dayton sent the driver to Kingwood Hospital and claimed the life of his elderly passenger.

According to Sgt. Rob Willoughby, supervisor for the Liberty County office of the Texas Department of Public Safety, a 2022 Chrysler 300 driven by Patrick Rocio, 51, of Beaumont, was traveling southbound when the vehicle suddenly swerved to the right, entering the west ditch on the freeway. The vehicle traveled around 150-200 yards before striking a ditch embankment with the front portion of the vehicle.

The backseat passenger – an 80-year-old Port Neches woman – was unrestrained and suffered major injuries. She perished at the scene and was pronounced dead by Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace Wade Brown. The driver was not critically injured and is expected to survive, Willoughby said.

The vehicle was used as part of a car or limo service based in Beaumont. Willoughby could not provide the name of the company at the time this information was shared.

The victim’s next of kin was notified late Tuesday evening by state troopers. The victim’s name is being withheld until her next of kin has an opportunity to notify family members.

The crash is still under investigation. Willoughby said that drug and alcohol were not a factor in the crash. The driver reportedly told troopers that he swerved to dodge something that ran out in front of his vehicle.

Leading the investigation is DPS Cpl. Nathaniel Godfrey. He is being assisted by Trooper William Koen and Trooper Corey Prantil. Willoughby also assisted at the scene.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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