Traffic Deaths Soar In Eagle Ford Shale Areas
By Hailey Konnath
Updated 12:32 a.m., Monday, July 9, 2012
Since March 1, five people have died on the stretch of FM 239 outside of Kenedy in Karnes County. Some locals now call it the "death trap."
March 1: An early-morning collision with a big rig killed Tray Vickery, 19, who was headed to work in his pickup.
April 25: Three retired teachers were killed when a semi slammed into their Toyota Camry. Carol and John Harris, 69 and 70, and Margaret Hensley, 60, were on their way home from Victoria.
June 5: John Schaar II, an oil field worker from Victoria, was killed when his truck veered into oncoming traffic and collided with an 18-wheeler.
Source: Karnes County sheriff
KENEDY - On a recent sunny afternoon, the streets of this south central Texas community were teeming. Pickups, oil tankers and gravel trucks clogged U.S. 181. Cars were backed up at intersections. Trucks waited in a line at a gas station.
But there's something more than just traffic crowding the town's streets these days. There's fear.
"You take your life in your own hands by being out on the road right now," said Karnes County Sheriff David Jalufka.
In the past six months, Karnes County alone has seen 12 people die in traffic accidents, according to Jalufka. That's 12 times the number of fatalities reported to the Texas Department of Transportation in 2008, just as oil and gas drilling started to take off. So many people were killed on Texas 239 southeast of Kenedy - five since March 1 - that it's now known as the "death trap."