Sheriff: 'Miracle' no fatalities in head-on crash

Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer (left) discusses details of a head-on collision on Bear Creek Road with DPS Trooper Jim Behrens.

The details of a Bear Creek Road head-on collision are so spectacular that Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer says it is a “miracle” that no one was killed.

Hierholzer was the first on the scene Tuesday, April 21, shortly after 1 p.m. and just after the crash occurred.

“I had just left my residence and hadn’t got to my gate yet and my neighbor called me and asked if I had heard the loud noise he described as a ‘boom’,” Hierholzer said. “I hadn’t, but about that time I pulled out of my gate and I could see it (the accident scene).”

Hierholzer said had only missed the accident a few seconds.

“I could still see the dust in the air from the result of the collision,” Hierholzer said.

Hierholzer said he passed a pickup truck up that he identified as being in the accident and traveled up the hill to locate the second vehicle.

“The impact of this accident, due to the speed of the pickup truck, was so hard that it forced the pickup 200 yards down the hill,” Hierholzer said.

Hierholzer said another Bear Creek neighbor actually witnessed the accident, was at the crash site as well and was calling for emergency assistance.

Hierholzer said after checking on the occupants of the pickup truck he then saw lady laying in the middle of the road at the top of the hill.

“I got on the radio immediately and let them know we had a victim in the road,” Hierholzer said. “I had thought she had been ejected, but she actually crawled out of the window.”

Hierholzer said he began “working the accident scene, making sure everyone else was OK. Do what you can do until the ambulance arrives.”

Hierholzer said he saw teenagers panicking and “hysterical” with the pickup truck as he approached the second vehicle, a Ford Fiesta.

According to Hierholzer, an off-duty San Antonio Fire Department paramedic, also a neighbor, arrived at the scene shortly after.

“Once he got there, I got him working on the lady that was injured,” Hierholzer said. “So he sat there with her until EMS could get there and take over and I started dealing with the younger ones and making sure they were OK.”

After questioning the passengers and driver of the pickup truck, Hierholzer said he learned that they were traveling north on Bear Creek at a high rate of speed, collided with the Ford Fiesta at the crest of a hill, spun around and were sent spiraling down hill, landing 200 yards form the crash site, taking out fences on both sides of the road.

“He (driver of the pickup) lost three wheels and the entire undercarriage,” Hierholzer said. “His speed was estimated at close to 100 mph when they met at the top of the hill. He was traveling so fast, he kind of went over the top of her.”

Hierholzer said two teenage females were passengers in the pickup, driven by a male believed to be in his 20s.

“It was a miracle that they all walked away from that crash,” Hierholzer said. “I think later they did go by private vehicles to the hospital to get checked out, because they did have some superficial injuries, but no major injuries.”

The female driver of the Ford Fiesta was taken to Peterson Regional Medical Center by ambulance.

“I don’t know her condition, but she was conscious and speaking with us,” Hierholzer said.

Hierholzer said living on Bear Creek, he often sees young drivers attempting to go “air born” on the desolate and hilly roadway and urges drivers of all ages to be extremely careful and observant of the posted speed limit signs.

“We’ve had some fatalities on that road from the same type of thing,” Hierholzer said. “My guys (deputies) try to work it and I try to work it, but unfortunately, there are some straight stretches and some hills and they they take it way too fast. It’s extremely dangerous.”

Hierholzer praised the residents of the area who heard the crash and came to help in any way they could.

Texas Department of Public Safety troopers are investigating the accident.

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