A three-vehicle crash on Highway 158 near Dogwood Avenue in Gardendale injured seven people and sent at least one person on the run after fleeing the crash scene late Friday, a Department of Public Safety trooper said on the scene early Saturday.
DPS Trooper Jim Garcia said one of the two critically injured victims had to be extricated from a Chevrolet Suburban before being flown by helicopter to Medical Center Hospital.
The accident was reported at about 10:15 p.m. Friday. Garcia said a Kia Optima was heading east on Highway 158 when, for unknown reasons, it picked up speed and rear-ended an eastbound Lincoln Navigator pickup. The collision, Garcia said, caused the Navigator to lose control as it swerved into the westbound lane, colliding with the westbound Suburban, which subsequently rolled onto its passenger side.
Garcia said there were three passengers in the Suburban and four in the Navigator. Garcia said the driver of the Optima fled the scene, and no one was able to give a description of the driver, who Garcia said was at fault in this crash.
Garcia said the identities of the seven victims of the crash were not immediately available, in part because all seven of the passengers were taken to the hospital.
Debris covered a 500-yard stretch of Highway 158 late Friday as Odessa Fire/Rescue personnel took a passenger out of the Suburban. They immediately put the passenger on a stretcher and moved her to a helicopter.
Highway 158 was closed in both directions for more than two hours.
Meredith Martin, who lives in a home near the crash scene, said she heard what “I thought ... was thunder” while watching TV. She said her husband looked out the window and saw the rolled-over Suburban, then ran outside to help. Several motorists were already pitching in by the time she was at the street.
“What we saw was chaos,” Martin said. “There was a little girl (on the ground) they were holding onto ... I was helping a 13-year-old girl ... I just got her, swooped her out of the street (and) helped her until help arrived.”
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