A two-vehicle collision on Labor Day south of town claimed the life of an Austin woman.
The crash – in rainy weather – occurred on U.S. Highway 183, two-tenths of a mile north of County Road 4026. The wreck took place about 2:50 p.m. Senior Cpl. Monte Carroll of the Texas Department of Public Safety – the lead investigator of the Monday crash – gave the following account.
A 2010 Ford F-350 pickup driven by Brandy I. Jones, 44, of Round Rock, was towing a 1976 homemade livestock trailer. Maria Rios Lopez, 67, of Austin was driving a 2014 Dodge Charger.
The Ford pickup was northbound on U.S. 183, while the Dodge was southbound on the highway. The pickup with the trailer lost control when it hydroplaned across the roadway into the southbound traffic lane. The pickup rotated counterclockwise as it went across the highway, and the trailer jackknifed toward the Ford’s driver’s side and exposed the right-rear portion of the pickup.
The driver of the Charger steered to her right to try to avoid a collision but was unable to prevent the crash. The front left of the Dodge struck the right rear of the pickup, causing significant damage to both vehicles.
The Dodge was pushed backward and came to rest facing south in the southbound right of way. The tongue of the trailer broke during the impact, and the trailer continued off the roadway into the southbound bar ditch, rolling onto its right side. The trailer came to rest facing south. The Ford also came to rest facing south.
Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Andy Garcia Jr. pronounced Lopez dead at the scene.
Two occupants in the Charger were taken to area hospitals.
Acadian Ambulance Service transported Dario M. Chavez, 51, also of Austin, a right-front passenger in the Dodge, to Rollins Brook Community Hospital. Gloria Chavez Jaramillo, 50, a passenger in the back seat who apparently was lying down when the impact occurred, was taken by Acadian to Killeen’s Metroplex Adventist Hospital.
Jones and her 10-year-old daughter – a right-front passenger in the Ford – were uninjured. Both were wearing safety belts.
The driver of the Charger also was wearing a seat belt, as was the rightfront passenger. It was not immediately known if the passenger in the rear seat of the Charger was wearing a safety belt.
Multiple air bags deployed in the Dodge.
Trooper Chad Freeman and Sgt. Stephen Bynum of the DPS assisted at the scene, as did Lampasas County Sheriff’s Office, Lampasas Fire Department and Lampasas Volunteer Fire Department.