By CRISTIN REECE
A man was life-flighted to a Tyler hospital Wednesday morning after the truck he was driving veered off U.S. 287/Texas 19 South and hit a tree.
Palestine police continue to investigate the cause of the crash, which occurred at about 10 a.m. near the intersection of Renner and Crockett Roads.
“We’re not sure what caused him to drive off the roadway at this time,” Palestine Police Sgt. Gabriel Green said.
According to preliminary reports and several eye-witness accounts, the truck — a blue Ford F250 diesel — was traveling south on U.S. 287/Texas 19 when it drifted off the roadway in front of Henderson Electric, clipping a parked vehicle and smashing the mailboxes of that business and a neighboring establishment.
“We just hope he’s okay,” said an employee, who admitted she didn’t see the truck.
The truck continued traveling across the grassy right-of-way in front of Neches Plumbing and collided with a small oak tree in the front yard of Ranger Air & Heat.
Debris from the crash was found more than 20 feet from the point of impact.
“Margaret (an employee of Ranger Air) heard what we all think was him hitting the mailboxes over there in front of Neches Plumbing, but we all heard the crash,” Ranger Air & Heat owner Michael Thomason said. “One thing’s for sure — he never even stepped on the brake.
“There were eight or nine of us that tried to help. We even brought a fire extinguisher out, just in case. We tried to open the door but there wasn’t much we could do. He was pinned in.”
Thomason said one of the Good Samaritans who stopped to render aid was an EMT from Silsbee.
“Fortunately he just happened to show up and knew what to do,” Thomason said. “And our emergency personnel were here in a very short time.”
Palestine firefighters on Engines 2 and 3 used the department’s extrication apparatus to remove the man from his vehicle and Palestine Regional Medical Center EMS service transported the crash victim to the hospital before flying him to Tyler.
“Our fire department and EMS — all our guys were awesome,” Thomason said, while other witnesses nodded their agreement. “I hope to God I’m never in a wreck, but if it does happen to me, I want these guys there.
“They got here real quick, they were nothing but professional. They were not foolin’ around.”