Two killed in seperate wrecks in Bell County

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

Two people died in seperate accidents Saturday in Bell County, said Glenn Miller, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

According to authorities, at 5:30 p.m. a Jepp Cherokee crossed into incomming traffic on FM 93 southeast of Temple and collided with a Chevrolet pickup.

The driver of the Jeep, Kathren Turnbaugh, 43, died at the scene.  The pickup driver, Billie Mahler, 82, and passenger Suma Mahler, 80, were hospitalized with major lacerations.  The driver of a third vehicle, Tanesha Farmer, 38, suffered minor injuries when she drove into a drainage culvert to avoid a collision, Miller said.

Northwest of Belton on FM 439, Heather Lewis, 31, died in a head-on collision when the Toyota sedan she was driving veered into oncoming traffic at 11:20 p.m. and hit a Dodge pickup, according to reports.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, Miller said.  The driver of the pickup, William Bonner, 46, was treated for minor injuries at the scene.

Traffic fatalities rose in 2008

Last Updated on July 31st, 2017

There were 95 traffic fatalities in Travis County in 2008, up slightly from 2007, according to’ law enforcement records.

On roads within the City of Austin, there  were 59 deaths last year.

Investigators saw a rise in motorcycle-related deaths, spurred by a summer of nearly $4-per-gallon gas, Austin police Detective Mark Breckenridge said.  “We had quite a few (fatalities) among new or inexperienced riders,” Breckenridge said.  “The high, gas prices put a lot of people on motorcycles.”

The number of motorcycle deaths rose from 15 in 2007 to 22 in 2008.

Eighteen of those were within Austin city limits, Breckenridge said. Six of those killed wore helmets, he said. Sixteen were drivers, and two were passengers.

The number of deaths of pedestrians and bicyclists declined. There were 25 pedestrians killed in 2007 and 18 in 2008. The number of bicyclists killed fell to one last year from two the year before.

The deadliest hour was between 2 and 3 a.m., when 17 of the fatalities occurred. In 2007, 12 fatal wrecks occurred during that hour.
Outside the city limits last year, there were 36 traffic deaths, up from 33 in 2007, according to Texas Department of Public Safety records.

Among them was a March double fatality on U.S. 290 East in Manor in which 18-year-old Jared Michael Blue and 41-year-old Andres Carrera were killed, In February, three teenagers — Audrey Ducote, 16, Lauren Hoffman, 17, and Randall Hibler, 16 — were killed in a wreck on Texas 71 in western Travis County near Bee Creek Road, the site of several crashes.