A chain-reaction crash in Kaufman County killed a teenager and sent at least 10 others to the hospital Sunday evening.
Investigators said the string of crashes began with a head-on collision, followed by a deadly rear-end crash.
Troopers said 18-year-old Juan Gomez, of Fort Worth, was killed after a driver’s decision to pass set off a series of crashes along state Highway 243 in Kaufman County near the town of Ola at about 8:30 p.m.
“The Escalade enters the passing lane and strikes a Ford 150 head on,” said Trooper Lonny Haschel from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The red Ford F150 pick-up had serious damage. It’s hood was ripped off after the truck was rammed head-on.
Troopers said two kids injured in the wreck were flown to Children’s Medical Center. Another boy was transferred to a Dallas hospital. All of the children were in critical condition while several other people were hospitalized with broken bones to head injuries.
Troopers are investigating why the driver of the Cadillac Escalade made the move to pass a white Chevrolet pick-up truck. They had been heading east on the two-lane highway. The Escalade smashed into the on-coming F150.
Then, the driver of the white pick-up tried to stop to help those in the crash. The six people inside the truck, then became victims themselves when they were rear ended.
“The crash happened. The white pick-up driver sees it and stops, gets on the brakes. That’s when the Tahoe comes along and rear ends the white Chevy pick-up,” said Haschel.
Gomez was in the Tahoe when it crashed. The driver of the SUV took off on foot and is now being sought by police. Investigators aren’t releasing the driver’s name and are still searching for him.
Troopers said they can’t believe how the crashes unfolded. The two SUVs and two trucks aligned at the same moment for such a devastating impact on so many lives.
“We’re on a Farm-to-Market road, two lane, very remote. To have four vehicles come together at this one place and time is a little bit different,” said Haschel.
Some of the victims have been released from area hospitals. Others are still recovering.
The investigation is ongoing.