TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Two fatal crashes were reported at the intersection of State Highway 130 and Gregg Manor Road within 24 hours this weekend, continuing a trend of documented crashes on and near the Travis County intersection over the past several years.
Just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Austin-Travis County EMS responded to the first of those crashes, before medics returned to the same site just after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Three patients were accounted for in Saturday’s two-vehicle crash that involved a sedan and a truck, ATCEMS officials said.
A state emergency services employee drove by the crash on Saturday. They, alongside several strangers, pulled over and attempted to save the driver of a sedan involved in the crash. They also attended to the driver of the truck and his passenger. The truck driver was marked trauma alert and was transported from the scene via Travis County Star Flight.
The driver of the sedan ultimately died from their injuries — but the state employee stressed that, without bystander efforts, the other patients involved in the crash might not have made it.
“Every bit of help in situations like these can mean the difference between life and death,” the state employee told KXAN, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The area where this collision occurred is a high-crash area, and it’s also extremely remote in terms of the ability for emergency services to access it.”
The Texas Department of Transportation’s online crash report system noted there have been 52 crashes on or near that intersection since 2018. Last year alone, there were 15 crashes reported in the proximity of SH 130 and Gregg Manor Road.
Those crash patterns aren’t surprising, the state employee said. They noted that, in certain stretches of the highway, SH 130 has the highest posted speed limit within the United States. This particular area near Gregg Manor Road — running from Cameron Road all the way down to FM 969 — is very hilly and poorly lit, they added.
The combination of factors is a recipe for disaster, they said. But because of the efforts of bystanders who stopped and attended to both vehicles, the state employee said an already tragic situation could’ve become an even worse, and deadlier, catastrophe.
“We’re in a time of a lot of division in the country, and being able to see people from, by all accounts, various backgrounds — construction workers, army medics, whatever the case is — come and help? It was phenomenal,” they said. “And I think it contributed to the survivability of other other two patients involved in that collision.”
Alongside driving cautiously and monitoring speeds, the state employee reiterated the value of people learning basic CPR and first aid responses, should they ever come across a similar scene.
“You never know when you’re going to run across a situation like this. And something so simple as knowing how to do CPR, that can mean the difference between life or death,” they said. “This female driver’s injuries were so significant despite trained help on the ground, tending to her before the fire department arrived, and she still succumbed to her injuries. But she had the best chances that one could have in that situation, and she didn’t die alone. She died with people that were fighting for her life along with her.”
In an email to KXAN, a TxDOT spokesperson said the state agency reviews fatality crashes to see if safety improvements are needed. They added this weekend’s two fatal crashes at the intersection of SH 130 and Gregg Manor Road will be added to that review.