4 Killed in Head-On Crash in Erath County

Authorities say four people have been killed in a North Texas auto accident triggered when one vehicle crossed the center line into oncoming traffic.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said a Volkswagen Beetle driven southbound Sunday afternoon on Highway 281 by 18-year-old Courtney Kay Smalley of Lipan drifted into the northbound lane. DPS said Monday the vehicle struck a Mercedes driven by 29-year-old Matthew Lee Keith of Searcy, Ariz.

Smalley was killed along with her passenger, 19-year-old Kimberly G. Peacock of Fort Worth. Keith also died in the wreck, as did his wife, 26-year-old Tsanti C. Keith.

Both Smalley and Peacock attended Tarleton State University in Stephenville.  On Monday, TSU President F. Dominic Dottavio released the following statement:

The Tarleton family is today grieving the loss of two students in a tragic car accident Sunday, Courtney Smalley and Kimberly Peacock. Courtney was a freshman interdisciplinary studies major from Lipan. Kimberly was a sophomore animal science major from Fort Worth.

Also killed in the collision was a former student, Matthew L. Keith, who last attended Tarleton during the 2003 spring term.

Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel about the tragic deaths of Courtney, Kimberley and Matthew. The loss of ones so young and so filled with promise and vitality leaves a profound wound on all of us at Tarleton.

To all the friends and family of Courtney, Kimberley and Matthew, we wish you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your thoughts. Know that our hearts are heavy, and that you are forever in our thoughts and prayers.

The head-on collision occurred in Erath County, about 65 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the Volkswagen to drift across the center line.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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