February 5, 2014

Fort Worth man critically injured in South Plains wreck

A Fort Worth motorist had stopped at a crash near Post when he and three other men were hit by a tractor-trailer, according to a DPS trooper.

A Snyder man was killed Tuesday and three other men, including a Fort Worth resident, were injured while trying to help another driver near Post, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper said Wednesday.

The four were standing on an icy highway when they were struck by a tractor-trailer, police said.

Donald Medley, 46, of Snyder was pronounced dead at the scene. Cecilio Gonzales, 44, of Fort Worth and Kevin Trauger, 34, of Lubbock, were in critical condition at University Medical Center in Lubbock, the DPS reported. Garza County Chief Deputy Charlie Evans, 52, of Justiceburg was in stable condition at the same hospital.

The crash was reported about 8:15 a.m. Tuesday on U.S. 84 about four miles north of Post. The town is southeast of Lubbock and about 260 miles west of Fort Worth.

Initially, Garza County sheriff’s deputies were notified that a tractor-trailer had jackknifed. While they were investigating, deputies watched a box truck skid off the highway and into the center median.

The four men walked over to assist the driver of the box truck, said DPS Sgt. Bryan Witt on Wednesday.

“An 18-wheeler drove up to the scene, saw the wreck and hit the brakes,” Witt said. “He skidded right into the men.”

The driver of the box truck, Dale Kocher, 50, of Abilene was also taken to the Lubbock hospital. His condition was unavailable on Wednesday.

DPS troopers identified the driver of the 18-wheeler that crashed into the men as Arnold Ukawilu, 34, of Dallas.

“During inclement weather, state law requires that motorists drive slower,” Witt said. “There were icy conditions on the highway at the time of the accident.”

Witt said troopers would be out in the next few days to reconstruct the fatal crash. The truck driver may face charges, he said.

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