Weatherford Democrat

July 12, 2013

Children injured when road rage leads to wreck


Weatherford Democrat

By CHRISTIN COYNE

Witnesses reported an apparent road rage incident led up to a wreck on State Highway 199 near Reno Thursday afternoon leaving three people, including two children, injured. 

The westbound lanes of the highway were shut down around 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon near McDaniel Drive as Air Evac landed a helicopter to transport a child with a reported incapacitating head injury to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. LifeCare reportedly transported a woman to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth and another child to Cook Children’s by ground ambulance. 

Due to the severity of the injuries, the wreck was being investigated by DPS as a potential fatality. 

Several witnesses said a white Ford SUV was traveling eastbound on 199 in the right lane at a high rate of speed and appeared to be involved in a possible road rage incident with a blue car, according to investigating Trooper Corey Brasher, who said he was told the two vehicles were swerving in the roadway. 

When the SUV attempted to merge into the left lane of traffic and realized at the last moment there was not enough room, the SUV overcorrected, traveled through the median and T-boned a westbound orange Kia, according to DPS. 

There were two adult women in the front seats of the Kia and two children in the back, Brasher said, adding that the adult and child sitting on the driver’s side took the brunt of the impact. 

The orange Kia ended up partially in a ditch on the north side of the highway and the SUV stopped several feet in front of a business.  

Good Samaritans drove stakes into the ground and used a rope in an attempt to keep the car from sliding further into the ravine, according to Brasher. 

At least one occupant of the Kia was reported to have been trapped inside the car and ESD No. 1 firefighters reportedly extricated them. 

Three of the car occupants went to the hospital for their injuries, while one of the women was not injured. 

The driver of the SUV, Cindy Harner, of Springtown, was wearing a seat belt and, despite several apparent bruises, refused treatment at the scene. 

Harner disputed witnesses accounts to DPS that she appeared to be the aggressor in the incident. 

Harner said she was traveling in the eastbound right lane with her cruise control on and listening to music when a black car, traveling fast, swerved into her lane, making obscene gestures at her. 

Harner said she swerved and attempted to regain control of the vehicle several times but overcorrected and went through the ditch and across the westbound lanes of the roadway. 

The car that started the incident did not stop at the scene but she was told the driver went to the Azle police station and reported it was Harner’s fault, Harner said.  

Additional information on the incident, including the names and conditions of those injured, was not available Thursday evening. 

No charges had been filed, according to Trooper Lonny Haschel, spokesman for DPS, though the investigation was ongoing and that could change.