Sunday, October 28, 2007

A&M-Commerce students killed in I-30 wreck

A&M-Commerce students killed in I-30 wreck

Herald-Banner Staff

ROYSE CITY — Two Texas A&M University-Commerce students died Sunday afternoon while driving in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 30 while returning to the college town after a South Texas vacation.

Rachel Rollings of Coffeyville, Kan., was driving a 1998 Ford Explorer in the outside eastbound lanes of Interstate 30, near the 78-mile marker just east of Farm-to-Market 35 when her SUV was struck head-on by a small trailer carrying a 2004 Chrysler Concord that was traveling in the westbound lanes of the highway, said Sgt. Bill Vegas of the Royse City Police Department.

Margot Alvarado, 51, of Michigan was driving a moving van that was pulling the Concorde, which became unattached from the van’s towing hitch.

“The trailer crossed the highway median and struck the Explorer’s left front fender. When the trailer made contact with the Explorer, the Explorer rolled over and came to rest in the median between the eastbound lanes of Interstate 30 and the south service road,” Vegas said.

Rollings, 22, died on impact and was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace for Precinct. 2 and 3 Larry Holloway. Britney Lipsey of Celeste, 20, who was asleep in the backseat of the Explorer was transported by helicopter ambulance LifeStar to Parkland Hospital in Dallas, where she later died, Vegas said.

Rachel Ashley Bates, 19, of Commerce was the only survivor from the Explorer. She received some lacerations, Vegas said.

Bates was in the passenger seat of the Explorer and was transported by a Rockwall County Emergency Medical Services ambulance to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Vegas said. She was released before 10 a.m. Monday, he added.

Bates, Rollings and Lipsey were wearing their seatbelts, Vegas said.

Police are still investigating the accident and planned to recreate the accident this week to see if the trailer was properly attached to Alvarado’s van and to determine if Alvarado will receive any citations in the accident, Vegas said. Alvarado left the scene uninjured.

A Volkswagen Beetle that was traveling behind Rollings swerved to miss the collision and did not receive any damage, Vegas said. Interstate 30 was closed for three hours while law enforcement personnel worked the scene.

Lipsey’s funeral is at 10 a.m. Thursday at Celeste High School gymnasium. Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the CHS gym. Coker-Mathews Funeral Home of Greenville is handling the services.

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