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Two Men Killed in Fiery Smith County Crash

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Jarod Cassidy4 years ago

The Texas Department of Safety has confirmed that two men, Bobby Lee Phillips, III, 27, of Gladewater and David Marshall Southerland, 63, of Tyler were both killed in a fiery collision along Highway 271 in Smith County, Monday evening.

About the Fatal Smith County Collision

According to KETK, Phillips was traveling north along Highway 271 when he crossed over the median and into oncoming traffic, colliding head-on with Southerland’s car just north of Farm-to-Market Road 16.

Authorities responded to the scene around 6 pm and found Phillips’ white truck engulfed in flames – both Phillips and Southerland were pronounced dead at the scene.

Early reports suggested that Phillips and Southerland may have been passengers in the same vehicle, but further investigation showed they were in separate vehicles and that no others were involved in the collision.

The accident is still under investigation, and authorities are still unsure what caused Phillips to merge into the southbound lane.

Auto Accident Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the U.S. recorded a 3.3 percent increase in the number of people killed in auto accidents in 2012 with the number of fatalities jumping from 32,479 in 2011 to 33,561 in 2012.

Texas experienced an even greater spike with fatalities increase 10.82 percent from 3,067 in 2011 to 3,399 in 2012.

Traffics in rural areas accounted for 55.7 percent of the states traffic fatalities with 1,892 deaths occurring of rural roadways.

The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that:

  • One person was killed in a traffic collision in Texas every 2 hours and 35 minutes in 2012.
  • One person was injured every 2 minutes and 17 seconds.
  • One reportable crash occurred every 75 seconds.


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