DENTON, TX (09/15/2016) — Two accidents on Thursday morning (occurring about two miles apart from one another) left one woman dead and a man in critical condition.
Denton Police were first called to the scene of an accident at U.S. 380 (West University Drive) and Thomas J. Egan Road at around 7:35 a.m. Monday morning. Upon arrival, police found an unconscious man lying on the ground with an apparent head injury.
Investigators say the victim was driving an extended-cab pickup truck southbound on Egan Road, and was struck by a westbound 18-wheeler as he attempted to cross highway 380. The man was ejected from his pickup in the crash, and was taken to a hospital in Grapevine for treatment of severe injuries. As of Thursday afternoon, he remained in critical condition.
Just 15 minutes later (at 7:50 a.m.), Denton Police were called to the scene of another similar car-vs-truck accident about two miles away at U.S. 380 and Marshall Road. According to reports, 75-year-old Beverly Chambers (of Denton) was traveling southbound on Marshall Road when she tried to cross U.S. 380. Her vehicle was also struck by an 18-wheeler truck traveling westbound on 380. First responders found Chambers unconscious and not breathing, and her was pronounced deceased on the scene.
This area of U.S. 380 (W. University Drive) has been under heavy road construction for several months, and many locals have stated that proper signage was NOT in place on Thursday morning indicating that the westbound lanes had just opened to traffic that day.
During the time the westbound lanes were closed for construction, drivers heading southbound toward 380 were not required to stop until they reached the eastbound lanes (median) of the highway as all westbound traffic was diverted to the eastbound lanes as well. One local resident even says that a stop sign was still sitting in the median of 380 at Marshall Road that morning, which clearly should have been removed. Another says that some of the westbound lane barricades had been removed or turned for months so that contractors could access the area easier during construction. If true, this too could easily cause confusion for drivers.
The posted speed limit on 380 near Marshall is 45 mph (and it’s not uncommonly to see drivers traveling 60 mph), but it’s also an active school zone from 7:45 – 8:45 a.m. when school is in session. Police do not say how fast the two 18-wheelers were traveling at the time of the two accidents, but this information should be available to investigators via the trucks’ event data recorder (EDR). It will be interesting to see what the results of this accident investigation reveal.
We will provide more updates to this story as they become available.