Two students from north Texas were killed after their Dodge pickup truck crashed into a tree as they were on their way to a musical performance at Louisiana State University. What a heartbreaking story.
The crash occurred in central Texas, along Highway 7, close to Marlin and Kossee in Falls County. Troopers from the state Public Safety Department believe that the truck had drifted off the road and the driver lost control trying to correct it. The pickup truck then flipped on its side and slammed into a tree.
One of the victims, 19-year-old John Patrick Stewart from Dallas, majored in instrumental studies, while 21-year-old Laura Onwudinanti had recently graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in music education.
The crash also injured two other students who were inside the vehicle, 21-year old Jacob Travis Hale from Fort Worth, who also majored in instrumental studies, and 18-year-old Megan Taylor Ritzi from Fort Worth, who will be entering college this fall.
All four were on their way to a meeting of the International Clarinet Association, where they would have performed.
Currently Ritzi and Hale are at the Baylor Scott & White Temple, a Level 1 trauma unit, where Ritzi is listed in critical condition and Hale in fair condition.
Baylor University issued a statement in which the chancellor, Ken Starr, stated that the “family” at Baylor University and the School of Music were broken-hearted over the tragic accident. Students placed black, white, and red ribbons around a fence at Lake Highlands High to honor Stewart, who had graduated just the year before as a salutatorian. Friends remembered him for being wholly devoted to music, as well as extremely hard-working and talented. At the time he graduated, Stewart told the Dallas Morning News that he would try to change the world by altering the lives of those around him through music, leadership, and friendship.
Onwundinanti was described as having so much energy that it filled the room as well as a lovely laugh. The community of Grand Prairie, as well as the band at Lake Highlands, is now in mourning.
It is unknown what caused the pickup truck to drift off the side of the road in the first place. Possibly the driver had momentarily fallen asleep or lost focus for one moment too long. However, it is sadly all too common that when a driver attempts to regain control, he or she may overcorrect, causing the car to go completely out of control, leading to serious injury or death.
It is a sad reminder that when we are driving, we need to remain alert at all times and never get on the road if we feel too tired. Too many people think that they can just “gut it out,” and too often it leads to tragic results.
If you have been injured in a Fort Worth automobile or truck accident and want to hire an experienced Board Certified personal injury attorney who will provide you with compassionate legal representation, contact my office today to schedule a free initial consultation.