T Party members say wrecks come with the territory with slow-moving Model T Fords

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A driver with the 36th annual T Party was seriously injured after his Model T Ford car was hit from behind on Oct. 3 on Highway 69 North near Wells.

However, East Texas News caught up with some of the group's members to discuss safety. In the early 1900s, the Model T was a must-have for car enthusiasts. There was one problem, speed.

"You can try to keep up speed but they can't go that fast - 35, 40, and you know, that's comfortable," A.J. Berg said. "If you can push it a little more you can go a little more."

"Back in the old days, they didn't have roads you could drive that fast on," John Stolz said.

But those speeds are no match to today's highway speeds.

The accident with the Model T on Oct. 3 was a perfect example. Chevy pickup truck rear ended a 1924 Model T sending the driver, Theodore Dumas of Dallas and one passenger to the hospital.

East Texas News got a firsthand look at how quick you can close ground on these historic cars. These antique cars are allowed to not have seatbelts since none were in the originals, which is another reason why officials urge caution when sharing the road.

"Faster moving vehicles should use the inside lane, and slower moving vehicles stay to the right," said Kathi White, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation.

Drivers with the Texas T Party said it is their responsibility as well to make sure everyone on the roadway is safe.

"They're driving much faster than we are and it is very dangerous if you don't watch where you are," Mayes Fuller said.

"We watch the mirror as much as we do in front of us," Jerry Giebler said.

"If there is a shoulder, I try to drive on the shoulder when it is possible," Clint Allred said. "We always try to pull over for faster cars coming by."

All of the drivers expressed sympathy for their fellow enthusiast but said accidents come with the territory.

"Wrecks are going to happen, you just have to be aware of them and watch for them," Giebler said.

Tomorrow the group will be in the Nacogdoches area and ask for drivers to be alert.

The driver of the Model T involved in the Oct. 3 wreck, Theodore Dumas, was ejected from the vehicle. He was airlifted to a Tyler hospital, where he was listed in serious condition as of Friday. However, he was released from the hospital over the weekend.

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