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Man airlifted to hospital after wreck on US Highway 87

By KBell
Feb. 25, 2012 at 2:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 25, 2012 at 8:26 p.m.

Stephen Groll is attended to by firefighters after his vehicle drifted from the outside lane on U.S. Highway 87 North across northbound traffic, said Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Stephen Gray.

One man was airlifted to a hospital after his vehicle struck a flatbed trailer on U.S. Highway 87 North at 12:15 p.m. Saturday.

Steven Groll, 62, of Austin, was driving a Jeep southbound on the highway just before B&D's General Store, when his vehicle drifted from the outside lane across northbound traffic, said Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Stephen Gray.

A northbound Chevrolet Silverado driven by Daniel Fisher, 45, of Victoria, swerved to the shoulder to miss the Jeep, but the Jeep struck the trailer being towed by the Silverado.

"I saw the Jeep coming across the lane. It didn't look like it was slowing down," said Jimmy Haley, 29, a witness driving behind the truck.

Haley and several other witnesses checked on Groll, who was trapped in the vehicle.

They said Groll was aware of his surroundings, talking and asking them to call his wife. He also said he had a dog in the vehicle with him.

Florence Smith, 35, of Port Lavaca, said she was following Groll's Jeep for about half a mile when she saw it drift into oncoming traffic. She was able to retrieve Groll's mixed-breed dog from the backseat and hold it on a leash while firefighters worked to free Groll from the Jeep.

Firefighters cut off the Jeep's door and were able to transport Groll to a helicopter, which took him to University Hospital in San Antonio, said Victoria Fire Department Battalion Chief Shannon Martin.

A hospital spokeswoman at University said Groll went into surgery about 3 p.m., but about 7:25 p.m. they had no record of his being given treatment.

The dog appeared uninjured and was picked up by animal control.

Highway traffic in both directions was shut down for about 30 minutes.

Groll and Fisher were wearing seat belts, Gray said. The wreck remains under investigation.

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