Group was headed to Azle church function
by Carla Noah Stutsman
Three people died while four others escaped with minor injuries Sunday afternoon, April 28, as a result of a fiery collision between two vehicles at the intersection of Jacksboro Highway and Hanger Cutoff Road.
According to Fort Worth Police Lt. Pedro Criado, who spoke to reporters at the scene, shortly before 2 p.m., a Kia Soul carrying five people was westbound on Jacksboro Highway when it collided with a Honda Odyssey minivan occupied by a man and his teenaged son southbound on Hanger Cutoff Road.
Criado told reporters that two middle-aged
women – the driver and front seat passenger – in the Kia escaped their vehicle as did the father and son in the Honda.
However, the Kia caught fire, and as passersby began to stop to help, that fire quickly became a raging inferno.
The crash victims and good Samaritans alike tried heroically, but in vain, to free the three people in the back seat of the Kia.
One woman watched helplessly while as many as 10 people frantically tried to pry the doors open and break the windows. One man picked up a traffic sign that had been knocked down in the collision and tried to break the windows of the Kia out, the woman said.
It didn’t work.
Criado said it could be several days before the investigation is complete. Until then, it’s not clear what caused the accident.
Although the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office had not positively identified their remains as of Tuesday afternoon at press time, the deceased are believed to be Henry Sims, 80; Lilly Smith, age unknown, and Walter King, 15.
The identities of the survivors have not yet been released by Fort Worth Police pending finalization of their investigation into the deadly crash.
One of the surviving women in the Kia is believed to be the mother of Walter King, who was described by one area television news station as being handicapped, and having been a Special Olympian.
The group in the Kia had attended church that morning and were headed to Azle at the invitation of Wesley Chapel CME Church at the corner of Park Street and South Ash Avenue.
Wesley Chapel was celebrating its 142nd anniversary; the group, from Stewart Chapel CME Church in southeast Fort Worth was to sing as part of that celebration.