1 killed, 1 seriously injured near Athens in wreck between van, 18 wheeler

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 11:35 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2022 at 1:11 AM CDT

HENDERSON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A man has died and his passenger has life-threatening injuries after a wreck on Friday morning.

Texas DPS Sgt. Sara Warren said that at 10:24 Friday morning, a 2014 Chevrolet van was traveling westbound on FM 753. At the same time, a 2000 Freightliner truck tractor towing a 1997 Lufkin dump semi-trailer was traveling southbound on FM 59.

Both vehicles were approaching the intersection of the two roads. DPS said that the driver of the Chevrolet failed to yield right of way at the stop sign, and the 18-wheeler struck the van on its passenger side. Both vehicles drove off the road into the ditch on the west side of the road, through a barbed wire fence, finally coming to a stop in a pasture.

The driver of the van, identified as Christopher Spencer, 61, of Tyler, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was taken to Hannigan Smith Funeral Home in Athens.

His passenger, Robin Sphaler, 67, of Teague, was taken to UT Health Tyler with life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the Freightliner, Felix Rojas, 46, of Murchison, was checked by EMS and released at the scene.

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