Car Split in Two in Texas Crash, Leaving Teen Dead, Another Injured

By Zachary Stieber

A car crash in Texas left an 18-year-old dead and his teen brother injured, authorities said.

The single-vehicle crash took place around 3:42 a.m. in Houston on May 13, the Houston Police Department told KTRK.

Police officials said that the teen was driving a car on East Freeway when he veered off the road and onto a feeder lane, slamming into a pillar. The impact split the vehicle in two and killed the driver, who has not been publicly identified.

Houston Police Department Sgt. David Rose told the broadcaster that it appeared that the driver was not wearing a seatbelt but that his brother, who survived the crash with injuries, was.

The teen brother is expected to survive, police told KPRC.

Police found the wreckage early Monday, reported KHOU, as opposed to being alerted to the crash by another driver.

Pictures and footage from the scene showed the vehicle, a green Saturn, sitting well off the road and split in two.

Police are investigating what caused the crash. A preliminary analysis indicated that alcohol was not a factor.

Fatal Car Crash Statistics

The Department of Transportation said in October 2018 that there were 37,133 deaths from motor vehicle crashes in 2017, a decrease of almost 2 percent from 2016. In comparison, there was an increase of about 6.5 percent from 2015 to 2016 and an increase of about 8 percent from 2014 to 2015. Pedestrian fatalities also declined by about 2 percent.

While deaths in both categories declined, officials said more can be done.

“Dangerous actions such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence are still putting many Americans, their families, and those they share the road with at risk,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Deputy Administrator Heidi King in a statement.

“Additionally, we must address the emerging trend of drug-impaired driving to ensure we are reducing traffic fatalities and keeping our roadways safe for the traveling public,” she said.

The deaths occurred over 34,247 motor vehicle crashes, resulting in 11.4 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.1 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. The highest fatality rate was in Mississippi, with 23.1 deaths per 100,000 people, and the highest death rate per 100 million miles was in South Carolina, with 1.8 deaths, according to an analysis of Department of Transportation data by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

A preliminary estimate of the first half of 2018 (pdf) showed that an estimated 17,120 people died in car crashes from January through June, which would be a decrease of about 3 percent from the previous year. The statistics indicate the fifth consecutive quarter in which traffic fatalities declined.