Protecting Your Family On The Dangerous "Death Highway" 7/6/13
CBS 7 News
July 6, 2013
KERMIT-After another fatal crash on Highway 302 and the busiest holiday for traffic upon us, the Winkler County Sheriff is speaking out about Death Highway.
This highway has claimed the lives of three people this year already, so just what is it about 302 that got it the nickname death highway?
“We’ve had so many fatalities that the people of Winkler County call it the Death Highway,” Keely said. "It struck again this weekend when a vehicle crossed into another lane, killing the driver.”
That driver was Ricardo Augusto Berrientos of Eagle Pass, who died on the scene of that accident in the early morning hours on Friday.
The Sheriff says the high death rate is caused by a dangerous combination of driver error and heavy traffic.
"Oilfield workers are tired and they’re in a hurry, but it's not just them, it's citizens not being patient,” Keely said. “There’s a lot of traffic and they're doing things they normally wouldn't do."
And with this busy holiday weekend, Keely says you can help make the highway safer by maintaining your car and paying attention.
"Be on your toes, plan a bit, pay attention to the law so you don't put yourself in harms way."
After years in the line of duty, Keely says responding to these calls never gets easier.
"The first thing I'm wondering is where my family is and then where my deputies are,” Keely said. “When I get to the scene, I think of what we are going to do to take care of the people.”
“I think education and awareness is key to making the highway safer,” Keely said.
The Sheriff says there are currently no plans to change or expand the highway.