Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 4, 2013

Interstate crashes claim three lives in three days

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — A 2008 Corsicana High School graduate is among three people who have died in a series of fatal crashes since Saturday on Interstate 45 in Navarro County. Nearly a dozen more have been injured in four separate traffic crashes.

Brittany Lynn Averitt, 22, whose current address was Madisonville, was killed Monday afternoon when the car she was driving left the highway and rolled several times, ejecting the woman. The car rolled over on top of her.

An outpouring of messages and condolences filled social media pages Monday afternoon as word of Averitt’s death spread. Averitt attended Navarro College after graduating from Corsicana High School, and was attending Sam Houston State University where she was studying Criminal Justice, according to her Facebook profile.

Friends of Averitt quickly organized a candlelight vigil for her Monday night at Fullerton-Garitty Park in Corsicana, attended by several dozen friends and acquaintances.

DPS Trooper Curtis Putz said Averitt’s car was southbound on the Interstate near the 214 mile marker when she apparently lost control, went through the median and across the service road, coming to a rest after rolling several times. Putz said Averitt was not wearing a seat belt.

Gray conducted an inquest at the scene. Putz said a blood analysis will be conducted as a part of the investigation into the crash.

Funeral arrangements for Averitt are pending with Corley Funeral Home.

Averitt’s crash Monday was the fourth to have occurred on the Interstate stretch through Navarro County since Saturday morning.

Shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday, a one-car rollover killed a woman from Humble, and injured six others in the SUV she was riding in.

One of the victims hurt in the crash, a four-month-old child, died later in the day at a Dallas Hospital. According to DPS Sgt. Thomas Moore, the infant was strapped in a car seat, but the car seat was not secured with a seat belt inside the car.

The cause of the crash isn’t clear.

The woman who died at the scene was identified as Maria Elena Martinez, 48. Martinez was a back seat passenger in the late-model SUV headed north on Interstate 45 Saturday morning when the vehicle apparently lost control and overturned several times before jumping the cable barrier and landing on the southbound side of the highway. The infant who died at a Dallas hospital Saturday night was identified as Anthony Resendez, also of Humble.

The driver of the SUV, Rosa Resendez, 25, of Humble, and the front seat passenger, Maria Reyna, 18, of Humble, were the only two occupants of the vehicle that were wearing seat belts. All the other occupants of the SUV were ejected, Moore said.

The others ejected from the vehicle, also from Humble, were identified as Brenda Reyna, 25; Emanuel Resendez, 4; and Adrian Reyna, 11.

Four of the injured were taken by air ambulance to Dallas hospitals, while two were transported by ground ambulance.

Moore said the group was traveling from Humble to Carrolton Saturday morning when the crash occurred shortly after 8 a.m. near the 234 mile marker on Interstate 45.

The other occupants of the vehicle were reported to be in “serious to critical” condition at last report.

Shortly after noon Saturday, another rollover took place near the 224 mile marker, when a pickup truck driven by McKinnley Murkledove, 56, of Mexia, left the roadway and overturned, ejecting Murkledove.

He was driving southbound on the Interstate when his truck left the roadway, went through the ditch and outer road, coming to a rest against a fence. Murkledove was taken to a Dallas hospital by air ambulance. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, Moore said.

The day’s third rollover crash took place about 4 p.m. Saturday in the northbound lanes of Interstate 45 near the 233 mile marker.

A Mazda SUV traveling north was attempting to pass an 18-wheeler and trailer when the driver, Florenz Campbell, 77, of Bedford, apparently changed lanes too soon and the right rear of the SUV clipped the front of the 18-wheeler, sending the SUV into a spin, landing upside down near the northbound service road.

There were three passengers in the vehicle, said Trooper Putz — Marlene Campbell, 76, of Bedford; Debra Ware, 55, and her son Michael Wyatt, 18. Wyatt was trapped in the vehicle for a short time before being freed by Corsicana firefighters.

Both Florenz Campbell and Marlene Campbell were taken by ground ambulance for treatment. Ware and Wyatt were transported by air ambulance.

The driver of the 18-wheeler, Scott Hardy, of Glendale, Ca., was not hurt.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com