PARKER COUNTY — Eight individuals, including seven juveniles, were transported to area hospitals for injuries sustained in a one-vehicle wreck Monday morning on Farm-to-Market Road 51 near Veal Station, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Parker County Sheriff's Investigator Nathan Vick was one of the first on scene, Sheriff Russ Authier said, after completing an unrelated investigation, and was on his way back to the sheriff's office.
Vick said he saw the SUV in a ditch with seven children and two female adults trapped inside.
“Another car had stopped and had contacted dispatch,” Vick said. “They were also trying to get to the children. The car was smoking heavily. I had to climb in the back seat to get to the children.”
Vick said he immediately saw a car seat pushed against the seat of the vehicle, and said he had to use his knife to cut the car seat straps in order to free the child. He pulled another child to safety through a rear window.
“Once all the children were freed, we moved them to a safe location,” Vick said.
The highway was shut down for about an hour as first responders worked to extricate one passenger with the jaws of life. Parker County ESD companies Engine 48, Engine 51, Support 48, Battalion 101 and Chief 100 responded on scene, with mutual aid from Central/ESD 8 Engine 55 and Attack 55. PCHD/Lifecare EMS responded with five MICU ambulances, the EMS supervisor, and an advanced practice paramedic unit.
“I would not have been able to help the victims without the assistance of the citizens who also stopped and help,” Vick said. “I’m just glad we were all in the right place at the right time.”
Authier said Vick’s actions were above and beyond the call of duty.
“We set the bar very high here at the Parker County Sheriff’s Office knowing that law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard," he said. "We believe that excellence is our minimum standard. Investigator Vick’s actions are ones we hope to see from all our deputies.”
DPS reported the cause of the crash, which happened around 10 a.m., was the result of wet roads and high speeds.
"Preliminary investigation indicates a Ford Expedition was northbound on FM 51," DPS Sgt. Richard Hunter said. "The roads were wet and the Ford, driven by 24-year-old Aviana R. Van Schuyver of Azle, was traveling too fast for the wet roads and hydroplaned. The vehicle left the roadway and struck a utility pole."
The Ford was occupied by Schuyver, an adult female passenger, and seven juvenile passengers (four females and three males). All occupants were taken to Fort Worth area hospitals for undisclosed injuries.