A Franklin man was killed Wednesday morning after the car he was driving was involved in three collisions on Texas 6 in Robertson County.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin Wittig, 22, was driving a car southbound on Texas 6 around 5:15 a.m. Just north of OSR, authorities say he approached a hill, which may have played a role in the chain reaction between Wittig and three other vehicles.
"[Wittig] was climbing the hill, and so was a tractor-trailer in front of him," said DPS spokesperson Sgt. Jimmy Morgan. "The truck was loaded with cotton bales and traveling at a slow pace up the hill. [Wittig] decided to switch lanes and clipped the back of the truck."
After clipping the tractor-trailer, Wittig's Pontiac became disabled in the middle of the southbound lane, Morgan said.
A pickup truck also traveling southbound slammed into the Pontiac from behind, throwing Wittig's car into the northbound lane of Texas 6, officials said. A motorcyclist headed north on the highway then hit Wittig's damaged car. The road would have been dark, Morgan said, as the series of crashes occurred about one hour before sunrise.
"If you look at the timeline of events, what we have is actually three different accidents," Morgan said.
The tractor-trailer driver and his passenger were not seriously injured, but Wittig, the pickup driver and the motorcyclist were all taken to CHI St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan. At the hospital, Wittig was pronounced dead. Authorities do not know the conditions of the motorcyclist and the pickup driver.
Both directions of Texas 6 were shut down for several hours Wednesday as authorities investigated, with both sides opening around 1 p.m. No citations have been issued.
It was the second deadly accident on Texas 6 this week. On Monday, 78-year-old Lilian Crocker was killed after a three-vehicle accident on Texas 6 near the Boonville Road overpass.
In that accident, authorities say Crocker had slowed for traffic when her vehicle was rear-ended by a pickup. The impact forced Crocker's SUV into a third vehicle.
She later died at CHI St. Joseph Hospital.