Three die, one injured in Tuesday crash
Three Como men dead, Paris woman is critical after multi-vehicle accident

Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

State troopers Kenneth Adams and Cary Barnett survey the wreckage of a three vehicle crash on State Highway 11 that claimed three lives and left another person critically injured Tuesday afternoon.
-Staff photo by Ricky Russell

March 20, 2004 -- Two Como men were killed after being ejected from a vehicle, a local student died before reaching the hospital and a Paris woman was flown to Parkland Memorial Hospital from the scene of a three vehicle accident on State Highway 11 east at FM 1567 Tuesday afternoon.

Emergency dispatchers received a call at 2:02 p.m. reporting what appeared to be a two vehicle accident at the intersection of FM 1567 and State Highway 11, in which two were believed to have been ejected, and at least one person trapped in one of the vehicles.

Diana Michelle Rhodes Covington, 36, of Paris had to be cut out of her silver car and was flown to Parkland Memorial Hospital.
-Staff photo by Ricky Russell

Como firefighters arrived within minutes of the dispatch and requested additional units and said at least one person, possibly two would have to be cut from the wreckage.

The first deputies on the scene discovered that three vehicles -- a white sport utility vehicle, a red Mitsubishi and a silver Nissan -- had been involved and it appeared that two people had been ejected from their vehicle, one thrown on the south side of State Highway 11 and the other quite a distance away on the north side of the road. A 17-year-old youth remained in the red car unconscious and not moving. A woman in the silver Nissan was alert and conscious, but trapped in the wreckage of her car.

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Yvonne King was summoned to the scene where she pronounced two men dead at 2:25 p.m.

Two helicopters were also contacted after it was determined the driver of the silver car and a passenger in the red car needed immediate specialized emergency care.

Firefighters began working with EMS personnel to extricate a young man from one vehicle, then worked to free the woman, later identified as 36-year-old Diana Michelle Rhodes Covington of Paris, from her car.

Sheriff's deputies, assisted by the Texas Department of Transportation closed down a section of the highways for about a mile around the wreck scene to allow emergency personnel safe access to the scene and set up a landing zone for the two helicopters.

Arturo Perales Murillo, 17, of Como, was transported by ambulance to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital to stabilize his condition enough to put him on the helicopter.

The second helicopter arrived within minutes of the first lifting off, and took Covington to Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital for treatment of multiple legs and arm fractures and other injuries.

A spokesman at Parkland said at 11 a.m. Wednesday that Covington remained in the intensive care unit where her condition has been upgraded from critical to "serious but stable."

Murillo died in the ambulance on the way to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital and paramedics were not able to revive him. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronny Glossup around 4 p.m. Thursday.

Investigating officers said the vehicle occupied by the three young Como men appeared to have been traveling east on SH 11 east at the FM 1567 intersection when it veered into the westbound lane, clipping the westbound white SUV as it passed. The driver then lost control of the car, which witnesses said appeared to be traveling at a high rate of speed, causing it to collided with the westbound car driven by the Paris woman.

The two occupants in the white vehicle were not injured, and allowed to leave the scene after speaking with officers.

Department of Public Safety troopers worked Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning to identify the two men ejected from the car. 19-year-old Noel Correa of Como was identified around 9 a.m. Wednesday by his wife. The second man was also identified Wednesday morning by a cousin as Ermilo Correa of Como.

Funeral arrangements for Murillo and both Correa's is pending with West Oaks Funeral Home. Services for Murillo are expected to be held later in the week in Hopkins County, while Noel and Ermilo Correa will likely be taken to Mexico for burial.

Brinker, Pickton-Pine Forest and Hopkins County fire responded to the accident along with Sheriff's Cpl. Michele Peek, and Deputies Eddie Moon and Tony Crouse. At least four state troopers from the Department of Public Safety Sulphur Springs office including Cary Barnett, Sgt. Tony McCullum, Kenneth Adams and Byron Green were dispatched to investigate the fatal accident.

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