ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With a fatal wreck happening on 277 South of Abilene the morning of July 5, many are reminded of the thousands of wrecks seen on this road for over 30 years.
One of these wrecks happened around two years ago, when Gelsay Hackman moved to the Big Country. When she finally made it to Taylor County, she saw something unlike anything she had seen before.
“There was a lot going on, it was crazy. It was a one-vehicle accident,” says Hackman
She pulled up on a severe wreck, and her husband had to help pull someone out of their vehicle.
“I just remember holding her in my lap, and her head was busted open, and she was unresponsive. I’ll never forget that. Her name was Isabella,” says Hackman.
She believes this is the worst wreck she had ever seen, and she is not alone in seeing wrecks like that in this area, near what many call ‘dead man’s curve.’
“There’s about a 10-mile stretch that comes between Abilene and San Angelo that’s really non-typical of the rest of the highway,” says the fire chief of ECCA Volunteer Fire Department, Gary Young.
Young says he has reported to more wrecks in that area than he can count. He fought for TXDOT to make some changes to help drivers understand how sharp the curves are, and after a while, they finally made some changes.
“They’ve made huge strides on it. They’ve added advisors. They’ve added signage that’s lit at night for better recognition,” says Young.
Because of these additions, he believes the roads have become less dangerous, but the wrecks they are seeing now are because of drivers not paying attention.
“It’s not the road’s fault if you have a wreck. It’s not the rain’s fault if you have a wreck. It’s driver inattention or driver error,” Young states.
Encouraging drivers to obey the signs and slow down, and Hackman joining him in this encouragement, as she does not want to see another wreck like she did before.
“Just remember that not everyone is going to drive to the best of their ability, so just make sure that you are,” says Hackman.
This road was designed in the 1930’s so it is not a standard road, and Young says it could use some more fine tuning to help it become even safer, but he is glad that it has already become significantly less dangerous.