Armored car, truck collide; two dead at the scene

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

June 5, 2007 - Two men were killed following a collision north of the city shortly after noon today on State Highway 19, just south of Mahoney Road.

A third man had to be cut out of the armored car he was driving, while the driver of the second vehicle, an 18-wheeler, was sent to Hopkins County Memorial Hospital with what appeared to be an arm injury.

The crash was called in at about 12:15 p.m. by other motorists. State troopers said that there were two men in the front and another man in the back of a Loomis armored car which was carrying a load of cash. The truck reportedly had just left Alliance Bank. The Loomis armored car was headed north on State Highway 19 north between the bridges and FM 1537.

The driver of the armored car passed a passenger car by going into the southbound lane, then saw an 18-wheeler hauling a load of feed coming toward the vehicle just ahead in the southbound lane. The driver of the southbound David Alphin 18-wheeler, listed as being out of Louisville, Neb., took evasive action, moving the rig to the right, but was unable to avoid striking the armored car. The front of the armored car collided with the front passenger side of the truck cab.

The impact of the collision not only pushed both vehicles mostly into the southbound ditch, but also crushed and broke open the Loomis vehicle. Cash and bags of money were strewn all over the edge of the roadway, with coins flying all across the road, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Hank Sibley said of initial findings.

The front and back passengers of the Loomis vehicle were killed. The front passenger was in the smashed cab, while the other man, who had been riding in the back of armored truck, was partially covered by feed in the wreckage. Both vehicle drivers were trapped in their vehicles.

Hopkins County and Sulphur Springs firemen popped open the door and freed the driver of the 18-wheeler, who was treated for an arm wound and sent to HCMH. Then the firemen, assisted by North Hopkins firefighters and Hopkins County EMS crews, worked to extricate the driver of the smashed Loomis truck. Despite their rescue tools, the firefighters' efforts to cut open the Loomis vehicle and get the pinned man out was slowed by the tough material the vehicle was made out of. Once out of the vehicle, the Loomis driver was put in a LifeStar helicopter that had landed at the scene and flown to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler in critical condition for injuries ot his legs and arms and "pretty much injuries all over," EMS personnel at the scene said.

Officers from Hopkins County Sheriff's Office and Sulphur Springs Police Department assisted Texas Department of Public Safety troopers in investigating the accident. The officers, along with a Texas Department of Transportation crew, also assisted with traffic control. Northbound traffic was diverted from the scene at Mahoney Road where possible.

Although Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Ronny Glossup pronounced two men dead at the scene, their names had not been released at 2 p.m. Tuesday as the next of kin had yet to be notified.

The crash is still being investigated. Trooper Curtis LaRue is the lead investigator. Commercial vehicle troopers were arriving at the scene a few hours after the crash for further investigation.

Glossup has ordered an autopsy on the deceased.

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