Texas Highway Patrol officers are asking for the community’s assistance in tracking down information on a crash in front of Pal-Con Monday night that took the life of 42-year-old Philip Dwayne Wood, of Granbury.
According to Sr. Trooper and Public Information Officer Dub Gillum, a 2015 Chevy Tahoe driven by Melissa Williams of Stephenville was traveling south on US 377 when she encountered a cylindrical hay bale in the southbound lanes. Williams’ Tahoe ran over the bale, sending the vehicle airborne and to the left of the roadway.
The driver of the 2009 Chevy Tahoe, who was not identified, swerved to the left and the southbound Tahoe struck the northbound Tahoe in the back left quarter panel and continued airborne, rolling left to right, according to Gillum. He also reported the driver of the northbound Tahoe and the two children with her were not injured, and the vehicle only sustained minor damage.
The southbound Tahoe continued on, seen by the driver of a 2007 Chevy Silverado, who also swerved to the left, just not in time. The Silverado was hit in the front end and the Tahoe landed right side up, facing east in the southeast bar-ditch. The Silverado ended up on the improved shoulder and in the northbound bar-ditch with one passenger trapped inside.
Erath County Fire Rescue, Erath County EMS, Erath County Sheriff’s deputies, Stephenville EMS and Stephenville PD and Stephenville Fire all responded to the scene. First responders worked to extract Philip Wood from the Silverado and called for two air ambulances to be dispatched to the scene.
One helicopter took Wood to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where he was pronounced dead at 7:45 p.m. The other helicopter took Lance Williams, 42 of Stephenville, to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth with abdomen and back pain. Williams was later released from the hospital. Melissa Williams, who was driving the northbound Tahoe, was taken by ambulance to Texas Health Harris Methodist in Stephenville, where she was treated and released.
Gillum reported the driver and both back seat passengers in the Silverado were uninjured. First responders were able to remove all the debris from US 377 and were clear from the scene just before 8:30 p.m. Monday night.
Officers on scene say the hay bale that caused the accident had been reported as a traffic hazard by a passing motorist and officers were en rout to the scene at the time of the accident. However, that was not confirmed by Highway Patrol. But Gillum did ask for the community’s help.
“We’re looking for anyone with information on how that bale was left in the roadway,” Gillum said Tuesday morning. “If you have any information on who left the bale in the roadway or maybe someone saw it fall from a trailer or vehicle, we ask they call the Erath County Highway Patrol Office at (254) 965-7893.”