First Responders Trying to Cope With Number of Fatal Accidents

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Drivers are being urged to be extra careful on the roads after several recent fatal accidents in the area.

In just the last week, six people have been killed in separate crashes.

And with so many fatalities, first responders are trying to cope too.

"I can't recall our roads being more dangerous than they are right now," Midland County Sheriff, Gary Painter, said.

In one week, six lives have been lost on roads across the Basin. Four of those happened just this weekend.

"I just pray for people, I just pray for them that they'll pay attention and watch out for the other guy," Sheriff Painter said.

On Sunday, this fiery crash killed a Midland woman and critically injured another on Craddick Highway.

The day before, a 20-year-old died on Highway 191.

On Friday, there were two fatal accidents. One occurred in Reeves County that killed a 63-year-old driver and one on Loop 250 that claimed the life of a 22-year-old man.

Two more people died in the 14-car pile-up on Interstate 20

Multiple families are grieving and they're not alone.

"That's probably the biggest thing that's going on with our guys right now and we have to watch for that we have to pay attention to it," Painter said.

He said the number of fatal accidents in our area is affecting first responders, his deputies included.

"We've had officers drive up on the scene where people are on fire and we can't get them out," Sheriff Painter said. "You have to talk to somebody to get it out, to get the emotions out."

The folks at the Midland County Crisis Intervention Unit are trying to deal too.

"Just having to tell the family that their loved one is dead, it does take a toll on us," C.I.U. Director, Gabriela Williams, said.

She added sometimes even the professionals need help.

"It hurts us, we've cried with them before, we feel it," Williams said.

Counseling is being offered for deputies and anyone else who might need it.

"We're busy and we're ready," Williams said. "We're just ready to respond, 24 hours a day."

In the meantime, Sheriff Painter is urging all drivers to be safe.

"Every time you come up to an intersection be scared, watch both ways and pay attention," he said. "You gotta stay alive."