Three people, including a middle school student, were killed in a fiery, head-on collision Sunday evening on Farm-to-Market Road 306, authorities said Monday.
The Texas Department of Transportation said the accident occurred just before 7 p.m. in the 8200 block of FM 306, between Purgatory Road and River Chase Drive, northwest of New Braunfels.
A 2015 Nissan Altima, driven by Dave Michael Estes, 40, of New Braunfels, was traveling eastbound on FM 306 when it struck a westbound 2018 Ford Escape, driven by Melissa Leigh Edwards, 41, of Spring Branch, who was accompanied by her son, Brendan Edwards, 11, and a relative, Walton Cleburne Parker, 93, of Rockport.
“For reasons still under investigation, Mr. Estes veered into the westbound lane and struck the Ford head-on, killing all three onboard,” said Sgt. Orlando “Gus” Moreno, DPS public information officer based in San Antonio.
Chief Darren Brinkkoeter of Canyon Lake Fire and EMS said three medical services trucks, a fire engine and command vehicle, began arriving at 7:06 p.m. and remained on the scene until just after 9 p.m.
“When we arrived one vehicle was totally involved (in flames) and the other was starting to catch on fire,” he said. “The guys were able to extinguish that vehicle.”
Estes, that vehicle’s driver, suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Ascension Seton Hays Medical Center in Kyle. Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jennifer Saunders pronounced Parker, Edwards and her son dead at the scene. A dog traveling with Estes also died in the accident, Brinkkoeter said.
Comal County Sheriff’s Office units directed FM 306 traffic – which backed up west to U.S. 281 and east into New Braunfels – while DPS troopers investigated at the accident site.
“The investigation is ongoing and all the contributing factors are still unknown,” Moreno said.
The Comal Independent School District confirmed Brendan Edwards was a sixth-grade student at Mountain Valley Middle School.
“Please join us as we extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the Edwards family as they mourn their loss,” MVMS Principal Dustin Davisson said in an email to parents. “We encourage you to be especially sensitive and prepared to offer support to your child during this time.
“Grief counselors will be on campus to help our school community deal with this loss. We are doing everything that we can to help your child and our staff through this tragic experience.”
Steve Stanford, Comal Independent School District’s executive communications director, said the school is planning a tribute, but details hadn’t been finalized Tuesday afternoon.
“In the meantime, some of the students were wearing baseball jerseys, tie-dye or pink shirts in memory of him today,” Stanford said.
Moreno said the DPS reminds drivers to control speeds, minimize distractions and never drink and drive. When the investigation is complete, the crash report will be available at Texas.gov.