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One person killed in head-on collision

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

A traffic accident has claimed the life of a 26-year-old East Texas man.

It happened on Highway 31 near the Smith/GreggCounty line around 11:30 Thursday morning. It involved three vehicles and authorities tell us excessive speed was a contributing factor.

Authorities tell us the driver at fault was west bound and seen passing several vehicles at a high rate of speed. Witnesses say he was attempting another pass when an oncoming vehicle made him swerve back into the right lane. Krupal Patel's sister was driving that car.

"She said he came out of the lane, was trying to pass somebody, then he went back into the lane, then he came out and that's how he was driving. Back and forth," he said.

She swerved off the road avoiding a head-on collision. The victim overcorrected and was suddenly sideways in oncoming traffic. He was T-boned by an east bound jeep.

"The impact with the jeep was such that even though he had his seat belt on, it totaled his car, totaled him and broke many bones and probably head injuries and everything else. So he was probably dead on contact," Said Justice of the Peace Mitch Shamburger.

The three people in the other two vehicles were not hurt.

Judge Shamburger says that this is, "..Our third fatality in the last 24 hours. And, speed was a contributing factor in all of them. It amazes me that so many people get killed on highway 31 in straight areas that you think why in the world would they have a wreck here. And the reason is, it's straight you think you have plenty of time to pass somebody or get around and the next thing you know you're having to compensate for an error in judgment, the next thing you know you're lying in a ditch dead," He said.

He advises to use extreme caution on highway 31, which he says is known as death alley.

An autopsy has not been ordered, but the victim's blood will be tested for drugs and alcohol. 

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