It feels like a wave of chaos hit Dallas highways this past week leading to fatal hit-and-runs, wrong-way crashes and pedestrian death. For whatever the reason, it’s been an incredibly tough week for Dallas drivers and families. From elderly drivers to intoxicated youngsters, traffic accidents have been piling up recently. Take for example I-30 where an 18-wheeler inexplicably slammed straight into a pillar supporting the Dolphin Road bridge, killing the driver and damaging the bridge. While on the same highway only a few miles away Monday morning, a pedestrian was hit and killed as he ran across the highway for reasons unknown.
Between these two fatal accidents, traffic reached critical levels on I-30 as cars waited for TxDot crews to reinforce the badly damaged bridge. The deceased driver of the 18-wheeler, 54-year-old Juan Garza, did not even brake before he hit the bridge support. All 80,000 pounds of material the truck was carrying crashed into the bridge at full speed, shaking the surrounding neighborhood with the explosive force of the impact. Whether or not drugs or alcohol are involved is unclear.
What is clear, is that alcohol was almost certainly involved in at least one of the fatal crashes over the weekend, including the tragic wreck where Dallas County Constable Guy Mundy Farley was killed. The veteran constable and father was out picking up food for his family last Saturday night when 32-year-old Ray Patton drove his BMW crossed the center line on FM 741 and struck Farley’s car head-on. Patton is suspected of drunk driving and has been convicted of driving while under the influence in the past.
Another wrong-way accident on Friday night left drivers frightened, but not injured. An elderly man became confused behind the wheel and drove the wrong-way down Loop 820 near I-30 until he hit another car. Thankfully, the damage was minimal and there were no serious injuries. The senior was believed to be suffering from a form of dementia, and hopefully will be receiving the care that he needs after this incident.
Around 2 am yesterday morning on the President George Bush Turnpike, a fatal car accident occurred when a speeding Mercedes rear-ended a gray Ford sedan with such force that the sedan lost control and hit a nearby Honda. The 56-year-old driver of the Ford Sedan, was killed in the accident. The driver of the Mercedes, 22-year-old Matthew Arbanas attempted to leave the scene by abandoning the car and running on foot. He had severe head injuries, and unsurpsingly did not make it far before collapsing. He’s currently hospitalized. Arbanas had stolen the car from his father and may be charged with a variety of felonies including leaving the scene of an accident, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and involuntary manslaughter.
There are car accidents that are still be investigated, including the hit-and-run last Friday that left Dallas woman Terri Denise Donnell dead. She was run over about 10:30 at night near the 2700 block of Garland Avenue. Donnell, 51, was crossing the street when she was killed by an eastbound pickup truck. The cops are still looking for tips on the case and asking anyone who might know anything to call 214-670-5818 or Crime Stoppers 1-877-373-8477.
We’ll all keep our fingers crossed and hope that this weekend will be a safer one for drivers across the metroplex. Keep an eye out for thunderstorms in the meantime, and make sure you’re prepared for whatever conditions you meet on the roads.