• April 27, 2022

Myrtie Hoeft, Sayble Bridger Killed in Truck Accident on TX-137 in Reagan County

Reagan County, TX -- April 5, 2022, 95-year-old Myrtie Hoeft and 86-year-old Sayble Bridger were killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer on State Highway 137 in Reagan County.

Authorities say the incident happened around 7:00 p.m. at the intersection of TX-137 and Ranch to Market Road 1357. Preliminary investigation suggests 70-year-old Doyle Bridger-Pruneda was driving a Toyota Sienna van west on RM 1357 when he allegedly disregarded the stop sign at the highway intersection. The van entered the travel lanes of TX-137 and was hit by a northbound International 18-wheeler. Reports say the truck driver hard-braked in an effort to avoid the crash but was unsuccessful; the impact caused the van to overturn and skid off the roadway.

Hoeft and Bridger, both passengers in the van, were pronounced dead at the scene. Doyle Bridger-Pruneda was transported to a Midland hospital and at last report was in stable condition. The truck's two occupants were unhurt in the collision.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Myrtie Hoeft, Sayble Bridger Accident on TX-137 in Reagan County

Images of the intersection where this crash occurred suggest that traffic on FM 1357 has a stop sign and is meant to yield to vehicles on Highway 137. The victim allegedly didn't stop for the sign there, but before anyone just shrugs and blames him for making a mistake it's important to account for other potential explanations.

Probably the best example of that comes from the investigating officer, who reported a belief that the van's driver was blinded by the setting sun and couldn't see the stop sign as he passed by it. That's quite plausible, as a westbound vehicle would have faced the sun during the early evening. To be thorough it would probably be best to check other possible factors as well, like mechanical issues in the van or the driver suffering some kind of medical problem. It's also worth verifying that signage is present and clearly visible at the crossing, as well as determining how fast the big rig was even traveling at the time of the wreck.

Myrtie Hoeft, Sayble Bridger Killed in Truck Accident on TX-137 in Reagan County

I'm not trying to overcomplicate this matter or unfairly blame anyone. I just want to make sure all the variables are known as they should be after any accident. Without looking into all the possibilities no one can be certain why things happened the way they did. Unusual things contribute to accidents all the time but often go unnoticed during a "by the book" investigation. We even saw a recent incident where a person supposedly ran a stop sign and fatally crashed with an 18-wheeler, only for us to find out later that road crews removed the signs during construction and didn't put them back. The victim didn't even know he had to stop there, but until that fact came to light police reports and public opinion were unfairly against him.

It's pretty unlikely the same thing happened in Reagan County as stop signs rarely go missing that way. My point is just that many crashes aren't as simple as they might appear and immediately blaming the driver for running the sign--particularly if he might not have seen it through sun glare--would be unfair and irresponsible. The victims' loved ones deserve know that every effort was made to find the whole truth. Would an independent investigator stand a better chance of learning all the facts?

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