Shale oil in the Permian Basin has been a boon to the West Texas economy, and has been largely responsible for the United States becoming one of the top oil producing countries in the world. However, the citizens of West Texas have paid a heavy price, one denominated in lives lost. Their roads have become some of the deadliest in America.
The Permian Basin shale oil boom has brought billions of dollars and numerous high-paying jobs to Texas, and it has brought the United States to the verge of surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the top oil producer in the world. It has also brought a large demand for trucking, and, with it, a large number of truck accidents.
On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, an 18-wheeler overturned shortly after noon on the Southwest Freeway headed southbound near the exit for SH 288. The vehicle was a HazMat truck, and the crash snarled traffic, backing up nearly all of the freeway. The incident involved just one vehicle, and, thankfully, early reports do not mention any injuries.
On July 17, 2018, Texas jurors awarded a $101 million verdict to Joshua Patterson after his vehicle was struck from behind by a FTS International employee driving a tractor-trailer in September 2013. Due to the collision, Mr. Patterson suffered significant neck and back injuries, which ended his career as a crane operator. Further, the verdict awarded was especially large because the Texas jury found egregious liability on the part of FTS International and their employee truck driver, William Acker. Of the $101 million, nearly $75 million was attributed to punitive damages levied against FTS International.
Alcohol may have contributed to a crash early Sunday morning that killed a woman. The wreck occurred on July 8, 2018, just before 2:00 o'clock a.m. It happened in the northbound lanes of the West Belt at Bellaire.
On the night of January 23, 2017, Thomas "Tommy" Ketterhagen was reported missing by his family in Georgetown, Texas. He was last seen cycling on the shoulder of the road along the 2300 block of Patriot Way. After searching for him all night, his mother found his body and parts of his bicycle in the grass on the side of the road the next morning.
On April 23, 2018 during the early morning rush hour, an 18 wheeler hauling household trash on I-45 burst into flames after swerving to avoid an accident on the highway.
Fleet Management Company Zonar, compiled a list of the most dangerous sections of roads before the holiday season. During the holiday season, there is an average increase of 36% in highway traffic. Some of the highways which already have a high danger rating due to the sheer number of crashes and fatalities by volume, like "US-1" for instance can become dramatically more dangerous during the holidays.
His friends were headed to class on Monday morning, but 18-year-old De'Monte Benn never made it to school. He was struck and killed on Highway 6.
In the early morning of March 5, 2018, a tragic accident involving two vehicles took place in Bosque County, Texas. The accident occurred on State Highway 6 near Clifton and killed five people, including three children who were students at Valley Mills Independent School District.