On Monday, November 28, 2016, Cynthia Vega and her 17-year-old son, Santiago Vega, died in a multi-vehicle crash along Texas 71 northwest of Austin, not far from Spicewood, Texas. Two others were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
According to Sergeant Robbie Barrera, with the Department of Public Safety (DPS), the mother was driving a Ford Focus eastward on Texas 71. Her son, who attended Lake Travis High, was a passenger. At about 8:20 am, a 29-year-old was traveling west in a Subaru. Barrera said the Subaru was being driven recklessly and at a high rate of speed. The driver then failed to negotiate a curve and entered the lanes of oncoming traffic. The Subaru crashed head-on into the Ford Focus. The Subaru began spinning. While trying to avoid the Subaru, a tractor-trailer struck the Ford Focus, which flipped onto its passenger side.
A second passenger in the Focus was hospitalized, and the wrong-way driver was transported to a nearby hospital. The tractor-trailer driver was not injured.
The accident is still under investigation, and the official cause of the wrong-way driving is yet to be determined.
Because of the nature of head-on crashes, wrong-way driving is one of the most devastating types of collisions. The Federal Highway Administration Resource Center recently published some information about wrong way driving, bringing “New Focus on a Persistent Problem.” The following is some information from the report:
- About 3% of all collisions on high-speed divided highways are wrong-way crashes.
- In about 260 fatal wrong-way crashes that occur annually, an average of 360 people are killed.
- The likelihood of a collision being fatal is much greater in wrong-way crashes than in all other types of collisions.
- Approximately 69% of deadly wrong-way crashes have indications of involvement with alcohol, on average. In comparison, when all fatal crashes are considered, 31% involve alcohol impairment.
- About 57% of all wrong-way crashes occur on weekends.
- Approximately 31% of all wrong-way collisions occur between midnight and 3:00 am.