Near Henderson, TX (08/28/2018) — Bright eyed 9-year-old, Payton Crustner, smiled and posed for a photo holding a sign celebrating her first day of 4th grade early last Tuesday morning. Just 10 minutes later, tragedy struck taking Peyton’s life.
According to authorities, the wreck occurred Tuesday, August 28th at 7:16 a.m. on FM 225 south of Henderson in Rusk County. Marcus Wayne Dukes, the 18-year-old driver of a GMC Sierra pickup heading north on the road, for an unknown reason, crossed over into oncoming traffic. 32-year-old Miranda Michelle Clark, Peyton’s mother, swerved in an effort to avoid Dukes’ truck but the truck collided with her 2017 Nissan Sentra. Two other passengers were in the Sentra, Kyle, Peyton’s 16-year-old brother and an unidentified 3-year-old.
Payton was ejected from the car, suffered severe injuries, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Kyle suffered severe injuries leaving him in intensive care on a ventilator. Miranda and the unidentified 3-year-old were treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.
Marcus Dukes suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from a Tyler hospital.
Funeral services were held for Payton Lynn Crustner Monday, September 3, 2018, at Rader Chapel.
Family friend, LeAndria Starr set up a collection on Facebook as well as a Go Fund Me to help offset the cost of Peyton’s funeral as well as Kyle’s recovery. Family friends are also planning a fishing tournament for medical expenses and other costs.
“This is what we do, East Texans, we come together, we help each other out,” said Starr. “Doing something like this just can take a burden off of them. It doesn’t bring their loved one back, but it sure helps the burden.”