Wreck kills Lufkin business owner's son

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

NORTHEAST ANGELINA COUNTY (KTRE) - A wreck on state highway 103 has claimed the life of a Lufkin man and another has been transported by helicopter to be treated for injuries.

Rescue units were called to the scene at about 10:15 a.m. Monday, near the Nacogdoches County border.

"It was awful we knew it was going to be serious," said Trent Hirsch, eye witness.

Hirsch and his 13-year-old son Jonathan were heading home to Houston from a weekend hunting trip in San Augustine when tragedy unfolded right before their eyes.

"This green truck back here was cutting across the center lane a couple of times and this last time it crossed over too far and hit the oncoming car," said Hirsch.

Gene Albritton, 44, was the driver of that green pick-up. Pinned in the truck, first responders worked for an hour to free him. He died on the scene.

"It is especially hard for the family members at anytime, but especially this time of year," said State Trooper Clint Henderson.

Albritton was traveling west bound when his truck collided with a car head-on. The driver, 39-year-old David Sims, was air-flighted to ETMC in Tyler. He's in critical condition. Hirsch said it happened in a blink of an eye.

"A little bit of smoke and dust and it was all over in five seconds," said Hirsch.

For an hour the Highway 103 bridge was shut down. Drivers waited patiently. Hirsch said time stood still. "I haven't even looked at my watch," he said. "We've been here a while."

Hirsch said images of this accident will forever stay with him.

"What's going to stick in our minds is that my son is going to be driving soon and it's going to always be in his memory as well," he said.

It is a sobering lesson his son Jonathan will not soon forget.

Albritton is the son of the owner, who has the same name, of Gene's Front End Repair in Lufkin.

Officials on the scene said both drivers were wearing seat belts and both vehicle airbags were deployed.