BURNET COUNTY, TX (10/02/2017) — A three-vehicle crash on Texas 29 resulted in the deaths of two Burnet County women on Monday morning.
According to a preliminary report by the Texas Department of Public Safety, 56-year-old Pamela Stewart (of Bertram) and 52-year-old Dena Kolb (of Burnet) were both killed Monday morning after another driver caused a rear-end collision.
Police responded to the scene of the accident at 7:41 a.m. Monday morning at the intersection of Texas 29 and CR 304, about 5 miles east of Burnet. DPS reports that Pamela Stewart had stopped in the inside lane of westbound TX-29 (waiting to turn left onto CR 304) when her 2015 Ford Focus was struck in the rear by a 2013 Dodge Ram pickup driven by 56-year-old Mark Salley (of Leander).
As a result of the collision, Stewart’s Ford Focus traveled off the north side of the highway, rotated clockwise and rolled onto its left side. The Ram pickup truck then continued into the oncoming lanes of Texas 29, where it struck an eastbound 2013 Ford Escape, driven by Dena Kolb. Kolb’s SUV rolled several times, and she was pronounced deceased at the scene by Burnet County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Lisa Whitehead.
Stewart was taken to Baylor Scott and White, but was later pronounced deceased by Bell County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace David Barfield. Salley was transported to Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock for treatment of non-incapacitating injuries and released shortly after.
While DPS Spokeswoman Robbie Barrera has not said whether charges against the at-fault driver were currently being considered, it’s important to understand that the investigation is still underway. If the preliminary report is accurate, I have to imagine that the driver of the pickup truck will face criminal charges (as well as any potential wrongful death claims from the families of the victims).
Rural highways with no center turn lane are inherently dangerous due to this exact scenario, but unfortunately, they’re more common in Texas than you might think. When vehicles are forced to stop on the highway in order to make a left turn, another driver’s momentary lapse in judgment or failure to maintain a proper lookout can result in tragedy.
Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by this tragic crash, and we hope that the state now takes a serious look at how this stretch of highway could be improved in terms of safety.