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Two people, including a former Gladewater ISD student who recently graduated from Gilmer High School, were killed in two unrelated traffic crashes which were reported less than 10 hours apart Sunday in rural Upshur County, said the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Taylor Blane Ehrensberger, an 18-year-old Gilmer female, died, and Jimmy Earl Moore, 76, of Longview, was injured, in a two-vehicle afternoon crash on FM 726 in the Glenwood area, authorities said. Moore was taken to Longview Regional Medical Center in stable condition, the DPS added.
In the other incident, David Allen Vance, 37, of Winnsboro, was killed in a fiery one-vehicle crash discovered late Sunday night on FM 2088 in the Simpsonville community area of northwestern Upshur County, authorities said.
In the afternoon collision, authorities said, Ehrensberger’s sport utility vehicle struck a pickup that was exiting a private driveway before the SUV ran into a pasture, striking a barbed wire fence and tree.
Ehrensberger had graduated from Gilmer High only eight days earlier. She once attended Gladewater Middle School.
Preliminary crash reports indicate Moore, driving a 2005 Dodge Dakota pickup, failed to yield the right of way to Ehrensberger’s southbound 2005 Chrysler PT cruiser when he pulled out from the roadway’s west side, said DPS spokeswoman Jean Dark.
Upshur County Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Rebecca Skinner, who pronounced the recent graduate dead at the scene, said Ehrensberger’s vehicle ran off the roadway’s left side after the impact and traveled a considerable distance. Skinner said she believed striking the tree caused the young woman’s death although she was wearing a safety belt. (Dark said Moore was also wearing a safety belt.)
Troopers responded to the crash eight miles east of Gilmer about 1:21 p.m., Dark said. Troooper James Kyle Payne investigated the collision.
Although Dark said in a news release the accident occurred on FM 1650, Skinner said it was on nearby FM 726 and a motorist who saw the aftermath of the wreck, Sandy Bankston, said it was at the bridge in front of a church on 726..
In the nighttime wreck, Vance’s westbound 2013 Chevrolet Silverado pickup ran off the roadway’s right side in a curve “for an unknown reason,” struck a creek embankment and landed atop an iron fence, according to reports from Dark and Upshur County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Rhonda Welch.
The truck caught fire at some point and Vance was burned beyond recognition, said Welch, who said she pronounced him dead at the scene just west of Coyote Road sometime after midnight. A motorist who discovered the vehicle afire reported the crash at 11:08 p.m., Welch said.
The judge said DPS Trooper John Smith told her he believed Vance, who was alone, was wearing a seat belt. Dark said the body was taken to Croley Funeral Home in Gilmer.
Dark also said in news releases Monday that both of Sunday’s crashes remain under investigation.
Welch praised the Simpsonville Volunteer Fire Department for a “great job responding” to the vehicle blaze and extinguishing it “as quickly as possible.”