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3 dead, 1 hospitalized after fiery wrong-way crash in Bell County: Texas DPS

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-17 21:19:06-04

BELL COUNTY, Texas — Three people are dead and a young woman is hospitalized after a fiery wrong-way crash in Bell County, officials said.

Around 1:56 a.m. this Saturday, state troopers were dispatched to IH-14 in response to a triple fatality crash involving a wrong-way driver, according to Texas DPS.

A 2017 Toyota Corolla, operated by 22-year-old Matthew Fernandez of Ft. Hood, Texas, was heading eastbound in the westbound lane on IH-14 near the Ft. Hood T.J. Mills exit.

A 2013 Kia Optima, operated by a 20-year-old female from Copperas Cove, Texas was heading westbound when their vehicles collided head-on.

The Toyota is reported to have caught fire after the collision.

Good Samaritans attempted to free the driver, but to no avail, according to Texas DPS.

Fernandez was pronounced dead on the scene by Justice of the Peace Gregory Johnson.

Two rear seat passengers in the Kia were unrestrained and died in the collision as a result of their injuries.

22-year-old Joshua Smith of Copperas Cove Texas, and 20-year-old Aaliyah Marie Peinado, of Nipomo, California were also pronounced dead on the scene by Johnson.

The driver of the Kia was transported to Baylor Scott and White in Temple with incapacitating injuries, Texas DPS said.

An investigation into this incident remains active and ongoing.

Next of kin for all those involved have been notified.

"Texas DPS would like to remind Texans to never drink and drive," Sgt. Bryan Washko, Texas Department of Public Safety said in a press release.

"Also, Texas Law requires everyone in a vehicle is required to be buckled up."