Categorized | News, News By Town, Spicewood

Two dead in back-to-back crashes on Texas 71 near Spicewood

CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER

SPICEWOOD — Two Marble Falls residents died in back-to-back crashes Nov. 28 on Texas 71 involving two cars as well as a semi-truck attempting to avoid the initial collision, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The wrecks were reported at about 8:20 a.m. near the intersection of Fall Creek Estates Drive in Blanco County on a small section of highway between Burnet and Travis counties, authorities reported.

Initial reports revealed the driver of a 2015 Subaru passenger car, identified as Bala Chandra Sekhar Gutti, 29, of Richardson, was “driving erratic” on Texas 71 before the crash, DPS Trooper Robbie Barrera said.

“There were 9-1-1 reports of … a vehicle that was driving unsafe to Travis County and Burnet County (dispatch). The Subaru was involved in the crash. He was going in and out of traffic,” Barrera said. “For whatever reason, he was (traveling westbound). He traveled into the (eastbound) lane, where (a) white passenger car was traveling (eastbound). The two cars collided head-on in the front passenger sides of the vehicles.”

The two people who were killed were identified as 46-year-old Cynthia Ann Vega, the driver of a 2015 Ford Focus, and passenger 17-year-old Santiago Vega, both of Marble Falls, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. An injured occupant of the Focus was 50-year-old Justino Rodriguez, also of Marble Falls.

“After this crash occurred, there was a second crash that occurred in the same place … (involving) a truck (and) tractor trailer,” Barrera said. “The driver was trying to avoid the crash that just occurred.”

The semi-truck collided with the Subaru, the report stated.

“(The semi-truck driver) was hauling (material for) metal (buildings),” said Patsy Lester, EMS director for the Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department.

Rodriguez and Gutti were airlifted to University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin. Their conditions are pending.

Barrera added that it remains “unknown if anyone had seatbelts on.”

The semi-truck driver was not injured, the DPS report stated.

All four lanes of traffic remained closed for several hours.

“They routed people through Pale Face Ranch Road (in Travis County) down through Spicewood near the (Spicewood General) Store,” Lester said.

Crews rerouted motorists through Barton Creek Lakeside subdivision and onto county roads 404 and 413 to an area in Burnet County.

connie@thepicayune.com

4 Responses to “Two dead in back-to-back crashes on Texas 71 near Spicewood”

  1. Jerry Milton says:

    The lack of a turn lane… Never mind a real emergency lane no doubt played a huge roll in this tragedy. The emergency lane from Pace Bend Ed until one reaches Marble Falls is VERY narrow and an eroding mess that DPS should be ashamed of… all of this in a 75 mph zone.

  2. T. McDowell says:

    I believe the speed limit is 60 – 70 through that area. I don’t know of a single area on Hwy. 71 where the speed limit is over 70mph. People are in such a hurry to get somewhere that they don’t even realize they are endangering every other life on that road as well. I think the driver of the Subaru should be held accountable for the accident that caused 2 people to lose their lives. Driving is a priveledge it’s not something that everyone can or should be able to do..

    • Theresa F says:

      Honestly, pointing out the speed limit difference of 5 mph is irrelevant and pointless. Mr. Milton is correct in his point. The Subaru driver will be held accountable. That is a given. Very sad!!!! My prayers for the families involved.

  3. KW says:

    Nothing but keeping this driver off the road would have prevented this accident. I was one of the 911 callers, and I saw him hit a guardrail in Bee Cave and almost hit several other vehicles that morning. IMO he was either high on something or he had a death wish. He hit a guardrail and just kept driving. Who would do that?

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