TYLER, Texas (KETK) – This month marks a grim 21st anniversary in Texas.
Every single day for the past two decades, a person has died on Texas roadways.
The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Department of Transportation are working hard to bring down these alarming statistics and shine a light on the tens of thousands who are losing loved ones.
For DPS Sergeant Jean Dark, it doesn’t get any easier with time.
“It’s very easy to see that, that could have been my family member,” Dark said.
Dealing with roadway fatalities can take a toll on everyone responding to the scene.
“It’s heartbreaking to know that you’re going to deliver notification to someone that their loved one is not coming home that night,” Dark said.
In September, a Tyler man was arrested for intoxicated manslaughter after crashing his car into a parked vehicle, killing his passenger, 20-year-old Tamyra Campbell.
For her younger sister, Sierra, the news of Tamyra’s death made her think about the future.
“It was just her daughter I know she would be wanting me to take care of her so that’s what was really on my mind when I first found out,” Sierra said.
Campbell died on impact when the car she was riding in crashed into a parked vehicle.
“I’m pretty sure she didn’t think she would be gone. She was just like it’s any other day,” Sierra said.
Jeff Williford with TxDOT is working hard to bring awareness of road safety to our community to bring down the number of fatal crashes and end the streak.
“In Tyler, in 2020 we had one fatality from DUI related accidents that’s one too many,” Williford said.
Campbell died at the intersection of Plantation Drive and Spring Branch Drive. Those roads are not known for fatal accidents, like Highway 64, Toll 49 or “Bloody” Highway 31.
But, the problem is bigger than just these roads.
“In 2020, (in the) Tyler district, which is eight counties in the East Texas area including Gregg County and Smith County, there were 36 fatalities,” said Wilford.
On Nov. 7, Texas could mark 21 years of daily deaths on our roadways. That’s more than 70,000 people.
“I even think now when I get into a car, I think about it every time,” Sierra said.
After losing her sister to a fatal crash, here’s Sierra’s message to everyone who drives on our roads.
“I just definitely want to tell everybody to be safe. Do the right thing, think about everybody else’s life too. You know, in that moment just don’t think of you,” Sierra said.
It’s up to us to end the streak and make our roadways a safer place to drive.