SONORA, TX (01/31/2016) — Stevie Smith was killed, and Gabby Zapata was seriously injured in a rollover car accident that occurred on Sunday.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), 14-year-old Stevie Smith (a Sonora High School freshman) died as a result of a two-vehicle collision that occurred along Ranch Road 864 (RM 864) at around 4:00 p.m. Sunday in Sutton County, Texas.
DPS reported that a 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck, driven by 16-year-old Charles Tyler West (of Mertzon), was traveling northbound behind a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox, driven by 16-year-old Summer Adele Hall.
Hall signaled and slowed her vehicle to make a left turn into a private ranch, and Mr. West attempted to pass the Equinox after determining that “he was traveling too fast and swerved to the left increasing his speed to try to get around.” The maneuver caused the two vehicles to collide, forcing the Ram into an out-of-control rollover.
DPS stated that West’s two passengers—Stevie Smith and 14-year-old Gabby Zapata—were ejected from the vehicle. Zapata suffered incapacitating injuries in the wreckage, and both victims were transported to Shannon Medical Center. Smith later died from her injuries.
Neither West nor Hall were injured in the accident.
Research indicates that an estimated 35% of rollover accidents result in fatalities, and 75% of rollover crashes occur in places where the posted speed limit is 55 or above. Following too closely puts everyone in both vehicles at risk, and this accident is an unfortunate reminder of how a driver’s carelessness can result in tragedy.