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Back-to-back U.S. 183 crashes kill two mothers; 7-year-old recovering from injuries


BRIGGS — The Texas Department of Public Safety reported two fatalities on the same stretch of road within days of one another in northern Burnet County.

In the first accident May 28, a 7-year-old boy is recovering at an Austin-area hospital, according to a DPS report.

His mother, 36-year-old Fengling Wu of Copperas Cove, died as a result of the collision between her car, a 2013 Nissan, and an 18-wheeler on U.S. 183 in Briggs.

The report stated that just after 3:30 p.m., Wu “pulled out of Loop 308 attempting to make a left turn to go south on 183 and was struck” by a 2004 freightliner, which was listed as being from Western Dairy in Stephenville.

The DPS trooper reported no injuries to the driver of the 18-wheeler.

Wu was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:45 p.m. by Burnet County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Lisa Whitehead. The child, who suffered broken bones and lacerations, was airlifted to an area hospital, according to the DPS report.

Whitehead said Wu was wearing a seat belt, but her 7-year-old passenger was not.

“He is improving,” Whitehead said. “He’s breathing on his own now. He’s expected to recover completely.”

The second accident occurred three days later on May 31 just before 11 p.m. on U.S. 183 just off RR 963, about six miles away from the first accident in Oakalla, officials said.

The sole occupant of a 2013 Nissan, 34-year-old Tammy Lee Mercado of Lampasas, was headed north when her vehicle left the roadway on the east side, went into a bar ditch and launched off a large rock before landing back in the roadway, according to the DPS report.

“There are so many similarities,” Whitehead said. “The one on Wednesday was a 36-year-old mom with a 7-year-old boy in the back (of the vehicle.) With Miss Mercado, she was 33. She has 7-year-old twin boys at home.”

Both victims were taken to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsies.