Intersection Safety

One teenager is dead, while two other teens and an elderly woman are recovering after a devastating crash Tuesday in Angelina County.

The wreck happened on Highway 69 North at Chimney Rock just outside of Lufkin. Seventeen year old Crystal White of Lufkin was life-flighted, but died before reaching a Nacogdoches hospital. Her sister Brooke White is in fair condition in a Houston hospital.

Authorities say Crystal White tried to turn left onto 69 and was hit by a Ford F-250 pickup truck. The other two passengers, Delois Teer and another teenager, were also taken to area hospitals. The driver of the truck, James Young also of Lufkin, was not seriously hurt. Investigators say Young appears to have been obeying the speed limit, but didn't have time to avoid the car.

The conditions of Teer and the two teen passengers are not known at this time.

Auto accidents are bound to happen at any intersection. Often, drivers just aren't paying attention to the road, or other drivers.

DPS Trooper Chris Koonce says, "Other factors include hills that are at the intersection or before the intersection, where the driver may not be able to see oncoming traffic. Also, when a person's turning into an intersection that may block or obstruct the view of the person who's trying to exit the intersection."

Highway 59 South at 819 and 69 South at 326 are two of the busiest intersections in Angelina County. Just two years ago, a traffic study found the intersection at Highway 69 North and Chimney Rock met requirements for a signal light, but not because of crashes, because of high traffic volume.

TxDot spokesperson Kathi White says, "We decided against installing the signal because it would decrease the efficiency of the traffic flow on U.S. 69; also, because of the hill that's right here, (it) would also reduce the sight distance."

Authorities say it's best to look both ways not once, not twice, but maybe three or even four times before pulling out onto a highway.

"I think in the case of any intersection, that drivers need to pay close attention when they're approaching an intersection, and when they're perhaps leaving a side road, an FM road or any connecting road; and just be cautious that there is traffic flowing that is nonstop," White says.

TxDot authorities say a red flag is raised when there's a crash at any intersection. Although signal lights often decrease traffic, they aren't installed unless they'll increase safety at that intersection.