Investigation to Look at Cable Barrier at Site of Fatal Car Crash

Driver in deadly head-on crash had medical issue, police say

By Kevin Cokely
|  Friday, Mar 16, 2012  |  Updated 11:31 PM CDT
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Irving police and TxDOT engineers will look into whether a concrete barrier might have prevented a deadly crash on State Highway 114.

Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News

Irving police and TxDOT engineers will look into whether a concrete barrier might have prevented a deadly crash on State Highway 114.

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Irving police and Texas Department of Transportation engineers will look into whether a concrete barrier might have prevented a deadly head-on crash along State Highway 114 in Irving during the afternoon rush hour Thursday.

Police said the crash caused by a diabetic driver who investigators report was recently having problems with his blood sugar levels.

Joel Buccy, 57, of McKinney, was killed when his van crossed the median between Belt Line Road and the President George Bush Turnpike. He smashed through the cable median barrier and then into an oncoming truck headed west on SH 114.

Buccy was pronounced dead at the scene.

The rush hour crash tied up traffic for hours.

"When you look at it, actually, concrete barriers and cable median barriers perform almost the same," TxDOT spokeswoman Cynthia Northrop White said.

Just more than two years ago, a study by the Texas Transportation Institute found that concrete barriers are a bit better -- but not by much.

"Concrete might be a little more effective, but the penetration rate for the cable median barriers is less than 1 percent," Northrop White said. "They have a very high percentage of reducing fatalities and incapacitating injuries."

TxDOT saves a lot of money using cable barriers, which cost less than half than those made from concrete.

"What's the layout of the road? What are the facilities like? Are there hills? Are there any slopes? All of those things are going to play a factor in what might be a better strategy to put in there," Northrop White said.

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