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DPS trooper ranks Goliad wreck as deadliest in his 38-year career

By JR Ortega
July 23, 2012 at 2:23 a.m.


Five years of fatal wrecks on U.S., state highways:

GOLIAD COUNTY

2011

Fatal wrecks: 2

Deaths: 2

2010

Fatal wrecks: 0

Deaths: 0

2009

Fatal wrecks: 1

Deaths: 1

2008

Fatal wrecks: 1

Deaths: 1

2007

Fatal wrecks: 1

Deaths: 1

VICTORIA COUNTY

2011

Fatal wrecks: 6

Deaths: 7

2010

Fatal wrecks: 5

Deaths: 5

2009

Fatal wrecks: 2

Deaths: 2

2008

Fatal wrecks: 4

Deaths: 4

2007

Fatal wrecks: 6

Deaths: 8

JACKSON COUNTY

2011

Fatal wrecks: 1

Deaths: 2

2010

Fatal wrecks: 1

Deaths: 1

2009

Fatal wrecks: 2

Deaths: 3

2008

Fatal wrecks: 3

Deaths: 3

2007

Fatal wrecks: 0

Deaths: 0

CALHOUN COUNTY

2011

Fatal wrecks: 3

Deaths: 3

2010

Fatal wrecks: 2

Deaths: 2

2009

Fatal wrecks: 0

Deaths: 0

2008

Fatal wrecks: 3

Deaths: 3

2007

Fatal wrecks: 0

Deaths: 0

REFUGIO COUNTY

2011

Fatal wrecks: 1

Deaths: 1

2010

Fatal wrecks: 3

Deaths: 4

2009

Fatal wrecks: 0

Deaths: 0

2008

Fatal wrecks: 1

Deaths: 1

2007

Fatal wrecks: 0

Deaths: 0

DEWITT COUNTY

2011

Fatal wrecks: 2

Deaths: 2

2010

Fatal wrecks: 2

Deaths: 3

2009

Fatal wrecks: 0

Deaths: 0

2008

Fatal wrecks: 4

Deaths: 4

2007

Fatal wrecks: 1

Deaths: 1

GONZALES COUNTY

2011

Fatal wrecks: 5

Deaths: 7

2010

Fatal wrecks: 6

Deaths: 7

2009

Fatal wrecks: 0

Deaths: 0

2008

Fatal wrecks: 1

Deaths: 1

2007

Fatal wrecks: 2

Deaths: 3

SOURCE: Texas Department of Transportation, http://www.txdot.gov/txdot_library/drivers_vehicles/publications/crash_statistics/default.htm

If anyone knows about highways veining through the Crossroads, it is Department of Public Safety Trooper spokesman Gerald Bryant.

But what the 38-year DPS veteran saw when he drove up the dark stretch of U.S. Highway 59 in Berclair Sunday night was something he could have never imagined - a one-vehicle wreck - 11 fatalities.

"I've been to a lot of accidents," Bryant said about a wreck in which a truck transporting 23 illegal immigrants wrecked into a tree in south Goliad County. "This is one of the top ones (wrecks) I've ever been to."

In all, 14 have died, 11 at the scene and three in area hospitals.

Most fatal highway wrecks tend to be single-vehicle, often caused by impairment of some sort, particularly on stretches of highway that curve, Bryant said.

Bryant never expected anything of this magnitude, he said. On his way to the wreck, he heard seven had died, but upon arriving he learned 11 were dead.

"It's an extreme shock," he said. "Something like this is not common at all ... but it's a job that you have to do."

The following is data obtained from the Texas Department of Transportation on the number of fatal wrecks and number of fatalities in the Advocate's readership area for the past five years.

You can read the updates to this story by clicking the links below:

'Nobody deserves to die ...'

Death of 14 illegal immigrants a bipartisan tragedy

Death toll in Goliad crash rises to 15

Community prays for Goliad County crash victims (video)

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