The Texas Department of Public Safety has determined the cause of an accident on Highway 71 that left three people dead on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Slick rear tires on a wet roadway led one of the drivers to lose control of their vehicle and cross into another lane of traffic.
According to TxDPS, troopers were dispatched to the state highway near the Travis/Blanco county line shortly before 5 p.m. involving two vehicles. After conducting an investigation, troopers determined that the 17-year-old female driver of a Ford Mustang was traveling eastbound with slick rear tires on a road way. The 17-year-old lost control of her vehicle and slid across multiple lanes of traffic.
The Ford crossed into the path of a Mercredes-Benz E320 and was struck.
The 17-year-old female was taken to St. David's Hospital where she died. The passenger of her vehicle was taken to St. David's Hospital as well and is in critical condition.
71-year-old Preben Hammer of Austin was a passenger in the Mercedes and was pronounced dead at the scene. 68-year-old Alice Hammer of Austin was also a passenger in the Mercedes. She was transported to St. David's Hospital where she died.
The driver of the Mercedes-Benz was transported to St. David's Hospital in critical condition.
No charges have been filed as a result of this investigation.
The Texas Department of Public Safety wants to remind the public that safety always starts before driving! Ensuring your tires are properly inflated and your tires are at the proper tread depth are imperative to maintaining good traction on wet roadways.
The stretch of road has had a history of multiple traffic fatalities. Sgt. Justin O’Baugh with the Perdernales Fire Department said there is an unusual amount of traffic fatalities on West Highway 71.
In the past couple of years, there were 3 separate fatal crashes that left Lake Travis High School in mourning. In December 2015, Ginger Johnson a science teacher was killed in a crash on her way to school. In march 2016, a junior high school student and in November 2016 senior high-school student Santiago Vega and his mother were killed in crash on Highway 71 near Spicewood.
Local drivers like Jessica Turner wonder if the increase in development in the area plays a factor in the number of crashes. Turner adds there's often a lot of visitors traveling on the road, after partying at lake Travis. The feeling of loss has been become far too familiar for some residents.
"My step mom in law she died about 10 years ago now on this and in the same region as sixteen-year-old girl died,” Turner said. “It’s just crazy how much has really been going on out here. I think probably every week we have a different wreck."
O’Baugh said the roads appear fine but PFD will be working with TxDOT to learn what trends if any are in the traffic fatalities.