Back in 1994 there were two fatal accidents at the intersection of what is now State Highway 188 (then FM 881) and FM 1069.
The two accidents occurred 24 hours apart during the July 4 week and each one claimed the life of out of town individuals.
The location of the paint sprayed on the highway at that intersection, marking where the vehicles in both accidents came to rest, was almost identical.
Back in those days there was a four-way stop at the intersection of State Highway 188 (then FM 881), and FM 136, on the route to Sinton. When drivers heading this direction approached the intersection where the fatal accidents occurred, they found only their lane of traffic facing a stop sign. There was no stop sign for traffic traveling along FM 1069.
I ran a front page editorial in the issue immediately following the accidents calling for a four-way stop at the intersection. It was my opinion the drivers, not being from around here, “assumed” the intersection was a four-way stop since the previous intersection they passed was a four-way stop, and inadvertently pulled right out in front of a vehicle traveling on FM 1069, thinking they would be stopping, as well.
Before the month expired, that intersection was turned into a four-way stop.
I do not claim it was me that made TxDOT change the intersection to a four-way stop, but we did bring a lot of attention to a continuing problem at that intersection.
The two fatalities, which happened the exact same way, 24 hours apart, added weight to my argument, and the local cries for change.
Fast forward to the past two weeks.
On June 19, and again on June 28, three people were killed in two separate head on accidents on Highway 35, north of Holiday Beach, in the vicinity of the Cavasso Creek bridge.
One of the vehicles shouldn’t have been in the other lane, in each collision, but it was, and now three people are dead.
A third accident, this one involving a motorcycle and another vehicle, occurred June 30 in the same area. As of press deadline, it was not known if the motorcycle driver was killed, but he was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
Since Hurricane Harvey, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst has talked about pushing for passing lanes on Highway 35 between Holiday Beach and Tivoli.
I’m not calling out the Senator, who is a great friend of Aransas County, but I am urging her to become a squeaky wheel with the powers that be, and force action. State Rep. Geanie Morrison needs to be on the same bandwagon.
Again, they have done their part to this point, but it’s time to go full throttle regarding this issue before additional needless funerals have to be planned.
The issue isn’t that a driver is at fault, which is generally always the case. The issue is it’s happening far too often in the same 30-plus mile stretch of highway.
I’ve had my own share of close calls along that stretch of asphalt, and I don’t want to see my life, the lives of my children or grandchildren, or anyone else needlessly taken away when action can be taken to possibly prevent such tragedies.
It’s stupid to pass another vehicle when unsafe, but the fact of the matter is motorists take too many chances on that part of Highway 35, especially when stuck behind slow moving vehicles.
I drive a lot of highway miles in our state, and I don’t know of another stretch of state highway, this long, that does not have passing lanes.
As most all you know by now, former Fulton mayor Leslie “Googles” Cole, 81, died Wednesday, June 26.
He was buried Monday, July 1.
The crowds gathered at the Fulton Volunteer Fire Department during the weekend, to pay final respect to “Googles”, and to offer condolences to members of his family, documented the impact the man had on his beloved town, the FVFD, Oysterfest, and Fulton Community Church.
His funeral was further testament to a man who impacted so many lives during his many years in roles such as mayor, alderman, firefighter, Oysterfest organizer, husband, father, and mentor.
Those who spoke about Googles at his funeral made those in attendance smile, laugh, and cry.
I was introduced to him soon after I arrived in Rockport in 1984.
To say I thought he was a “character” is an understatement, but through the years I grew to appreciate his love for Fulton.
Our discussions through the years have changed. We were on the same side in some, and on opposite sides in others, but I always respected his opinion and understood where he was coming from.
The latest example that comes to mind was when he was vocal about saving the Paws and Taws, and not rebuilding a new one.
If one knew Googles, he or she understood that argument.
In recent years our conversations always started with him asking me about my children, sons-in-law, and grandchildren.
That is the man who went “out of service” June 26, 2019.
A simple man who did so much for Fulton … the town he loved.
Until next week, have a good week.
Reach Mike Probst at firstname.lastname@example.org.