Child killed in crash on Highway 271

By Courtney Lane - bio | email

SMITH/GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas child is killed and five others injured in a rollover accident along Highway 271. It happened right at the Smith and Gregg County border a little before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

"I couldn't handle it so I just walked away from it," said witness Jake Norfleet.

Norfleet lives where the horrible accident happened. DPS troopers said five children were riding in a Ford F-150 when the driver somehow lost control. Witnesses say the truck hit a culvert and began rolling and flipping. At one point, Norfleet said it was airborne.

"I saw these children laying there on the side of the road and I thought I can't handle this."

Norfleet called 9-1-1 immediately, only to get a busy signal. He and several others ran to help the injured but one little boy was already gone.

"They said, 'There's a child missing. It's under the pickup,'" said Norfleet. "And, so three or four men got on the other side and I said 'Wait a minute. Let me close the door so we can turn it over.' Raise it up, you know, and they looked and said ,'No, there he is in the back end of the pickup, next to the tailgate.' He was dead, little fellow."

That boy has been identified as Jonathan King. Norfleet said speeding has always been a problem along this stretch of 271 but DPS have not said whether that played a factor.

"It was terrible," said Norfleet. "I mean I just looked down at him and I said, 'Oh boy, that's unreal."

One other child was flown to Children's Hospital in Dallas. The others were transported to ETMC in Tyler. Their injuries are unknown at this time.

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