TONIGHT AT 10: KETK News investigation reveals Texans may be vulnerable to trailer hitch hazards after Tyler mother killed

Special Reports

TYLER, Texas (KETK). Two months ago, a 49-year-old East Texas mother, Kelly Hall, was killed by another driver’s loose trailer. And now others in East Texas and beyond tell us they’re worried more people are vulnerable to the same kind of tragedy. 

On March 8, Hall was driving on Toll 49 when a trailer became unhitched from a truck traveling in the opposite direction, causing a multi-vehicle crash. The crash killed Kelly Hall, and also injured another driver, April Michelle Files, 42, of Houston. The driver of the trailer, Steven Frederick Elgin, 38, of Hughes Springs, was uninjured. 

A preliminary report found that the trailer was never fully secured, and that safety chains connected to the vehicle failed to stop the vehicle from separating from the truck. On Monday, May 17th, DPS said that the full investigation is now complete, and KETK News is waiting for access to these documents. 

Regardless of what they reveal, trailer safety advocate Ron Melancon says enough is clear from the preliminary report that this fatal accident is part of a larger, more concerning trend in Texas. 

“It’s wrong. It’s wrong that all these people are killed by the same factor. The loss of Mrs. Hall, an amazing woman who did nothing wrong on a public road, every effort should be made.” 

Ron Melancon

Kelly Hall leaves behind three children, who she homeschooled, and a husband. In addition to Hall’s extensive involvement with the Cottage Garden Homeschool Co-op, her widower, Cliff Hall, tells KETK that his wife volunteered extensively.  

She was on the board for an art-centered organization called TAP, which serves young Ugandans and helps improves their lives through Christ. She also led fundraising efforts for “Wreaths Across America”, which honors military veterans who have passed by placing Christmas wreaths on their headstones. Additionally, she volunteered at the Hiway 80 Rescue mission, the Tyler Civil Air Patrol Roberts Raiders Booster Club, and was on the praise team for the Southside Baptist Church. 

“I’m just encouraged that she touched more people than I was ever aware of. And that’s a blessing, you know? It’s a real blessing.”

Cliff Hall, Widower of Kelly Hall

After Kelly’s death, Cliff showed KETK News hundreds of cards the Hall family received from the community and students that she taught as a part of the co-op. “That’s just who she was. She poured her life not only into our kids, but into a lot of other kids, too.” 

Cliff says, months later, he’s still missing his partner of 30 years. 

“It was getting to that sweet spot where you just you click and, you know, and I think that’s probably one of the hardest things about losing somebody at this point in your marriage. That’s, you know, where the sting comes.” 

Wednesday on KETK News at 10, we investigate how Texas inspection laws may be leaving more drivers at risk, how accidents like Kelly’s can be tough to prosecute, and why wrecks like these can go largely unreported.

And, the Hall family shares more memories of Kelly, and why her faith is helping them push on. 

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