Lake Travis H.S. endures three deaths in a year

Following several deadly crashes on Highway 71, drivers are demanding change. Lake Travis High School has endured three deaths within the past year; the most recent one occurred on Monday. It's affecting the entire community.

"My heart is broken and I'm in disbelief because you hear about these things happening but they never hit close to home. This time it's close to home," says Sandy Smith, friend of Vega relative.

It was Monday when a fatal crash claimed the lives of Lake Travis High School senior Santiago Vega and his mother Cynthia Vega. Sandy Smith works with a relative of the Vega family.

"Tight-knit family, very close. We're always together on the weekends so this is hitting her hard and as a response to that, it's hitting me hard as well," says Smith.

Lake Travis High School is also trying to cope with the loss. Santiago transferred to the school last spring. 

"He was on track to graduate with the class of 2017, was well liked by his peers and his teachers and was into skateboarding. So as you can imagine, the students and staff are kind of having a hard time dealing with the situation right now," says Principal Gordon Butler, Lake Travis High School.

This isn't the first tragedy to strike the high school. In March, junior Savannah Griffiths was killed in a fatal crash involving an 18-wheeler. Then in December of 2015, science teacher Ginger Johnson was killed in a crash while on her way to school. She had been working there since 1991.Three deaths on the same highway in about a year.

"Grief obviously comes in different stages and whether they need us this week or next week or even when we come back from Christmas break, the adults in this building are here for them, says Principal Butler.

Drivers like Smith say something needs to be done to make the highway less dangerous.

"How many people have to lose their life before somebody starts to pay attention? Like I said, they need some left turn-lanes on all those side streets that come out. Maybe to lower that speed limit a little bit. There's a lot of trucks on 71 and they're pretty scary when they're barreling down 71 going about 70 miles per hour," says Smith.

The district says services for Santiago and Cynthia Vega will be held at 4 P.M., Friday December 2nd at Wilcox Funeral Home in Marble Falls. A rosary will follow at 6 p.m.

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