(Editor's note: This article has been edited throughout.)
VAN ALSTYNE — A wreck in Van Alstyne involving three vehicles caused the death of one person and sent nine others to the hospital Wednesday afternoon.
At about 12:45 p.m., a black Toyota Corolla was traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 75. Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes said witnesses reported the Corolla was traveling at a high rate of speed when it neared the highway overpass for FM 121, where a Texas Department of Transportation contracted truck on the left side was signaling for a work crew ahead.
“The vehicle tried to avoid it, but it did strike a crash-truck and went from the crash-truck and struck another vehicle that was pulling a travel trailer with a family in it,” Barnes said.
The collision caused the SUV and trailer to jackknife, and the trailer tipped over, raising the back of SUV off the ground. The Corolla spun around and came to stop facing north next to the TxDOT contracted truck. The 48-year-old passenger in the Corolla was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. Barnes said the man was not wearing a seat belt.
“The fatality was not wearing a seat belt, and it looks like there’s a possibility if he would have been wearing a seat belt, he’d be with us today,” Barnes said. “It’s unfortunate because that’s what’s the equipment in the vehicle is there to do — to keep from being thrown from the vehicle.”
The driver of the Corolla and the driver of the truck were both transported to the hospital. The occupants of the Expedition, which included a number of children, were all transported to local hospitals as well, and Barnes said none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening. He said the children were transported as a precautionary measure.
While emergency personnel cleared the scene, the southbound lanes were closed and traffic was diverted through exit 51 onto the service road. The southbound lanes were expected to reopen before 4 p.m.
“Basically, wear your seat belt,” Barnes said. “It’s a law, and there should be no reason not to wear it.”