SOMERVELL COUNTY, TX – Local law enforcement and emergency personnel unfortunately were kept busy throughout the day on Sunday with five-separate multi-vehicle collisions – two of which resulted in a fatality.
Four of those incidents occurred on US Hwy 67, while the fifth happened on Farm-to-Market 4 in Hood County. Both fatalities were male motorcyclists.
At approximately 2:11 p.m., a 2015 Harley Davidson Street Glide motorcycle being operated by Raymond Leon Critichfield, 52, of Palmer, TX was traveling eastbound on US Hwy 67 towards Glen Rose when he lost control of the bike while attempting to brake hard, which caused the bike to lay over on its right side, according to DPS Sr. Trooper Dub Gillum. US Hwy
Critichfield was ejected from the bike and killed in the process, and was pronounced dead at Glen Rose Medical Center at approximately 3:05 p.m., Gillum stated.
Texas Highway Patrolman Scott Rountree investigated the scene 11 miles outside of Glen Rose and determined Critichfield was in fact wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
The second fatality occurred 41 minutes prior.
Also according to Gillum, at approximately 1:30 p.m. LaDonna Welch, 36, of Granbury, TX was traveling south on FM 4 near Loop 567 in Hood County when her pickup truck crossed into the northbound lane and struck a motorcycle being operated by David West, 53, of Crowley, TX, head on.
Arrest records show that Welch is currently being held in the Hood County Jail and has been charged with intoxication manslaughter. The DPS report states that she was allegedly intoxicated and talking on a cellphone when the accident occurred.
CBSDFW reported that West’s wife was also on a motorcycle traveling behind her husband when she witnessed the accident.
*(Update: Monday, February 1, 12:51 p.m.) Sunday's fifth accident, of which CBS DFW incorrectly reported as a fatality accident, occurred at FM 1434 and US Hwy 67 near the Elks Lodge in Cleburne.
According to Cleburne Police Department officials, there are no fatalities yet associated with the accident that involved a van striking the front quarter panel of a stationary semi at approximately 6:36 p.m.
The van, being driven by a 25-year-old male – presumed to be Colten Harris, according to a close family friend of the Harris' – was traveling westbound in the 3600 block of US Hwy 67 when it crossed into the eastbound lane and struck the eastbound-facing semi as the tractor-trailer was waiting to turn onto a private drive, Cleburne officials stated. The family friend believed the other two passengers of the van to be Tejal Gibson, 24, and James Harris, 48, all of Rainbow.
All three passengers of the van, as well as the 49-year-old male driver of the semi from Meridian, TX, were transported to Fort Worth area hospitals by air and ground ambulances. The driver and front seat female passenger of the van are reported to be in critical condition, while the rear male passenger is reported to be in stable condition, Cleburne officials confirmed. Officials also confirmed that the driver of the semi has been treated for injuries and released.
The accident was still under investigation as of Monday afternoon.
The Texas Department of Transportation reported that in 2014, 463 motorcyclists were killed in roadway accidents and 50 percent of those were not wearing a helmet. The number was up from 446 in 2012 and 460 in 2013. The department also reported that in 2014, 55.86 percent (1,974 deaths) of all traffic fatalities occurred in rural areas, such as the two on Sunday, and 581 people were killed in head-on crashes.