Friday night a tragic accident claimed the lives of two East Texans. It happened in the 6400 block of highway 31 near the Smith-Gregg County line around 6:30 p.m.
It started with a car rear-ending an SUV. The SUV pulled off the road, but the PT Cruiser couldn't move. When one person ran to the driver's aid others tried to help, but two of them were struck by a third vehicle and lost their lives.
We were there when a victim's wife spoke with the driver of the PT cruiser and the man who pushed her to safety.
Allen Ellis had just finished changing a tire on someone else's car when he saw what Fantasy Ranch security cameras captured: A PT Cruiser driven by Amanda Staples rear-ending an SUV.
Allen helped Amanda out of her car, then two others were suddenly there in the middle of Highway 31 trying to move Amanda off the road. Allen caught a glimpse of a westbound car coming at them.
"I nudged her with my foot, kicked her or whatever, I moved her out of the way with my foot and I looked back up and I saw two bodies flying at me," Allen said.
Dulis Rolando Surventes and Jason David Albright were struck from behind by a westbound car. They both died from their injuries. Allen pushed Amanda far enough over that the car only ran over her arm. Allen says he was just inches away from being hit.
The next morning Jason Albright's wife and friends came by to pick up his vehicle. She didn't want to go on camera, but did want to speak with Allen and Amanda.
"If I wouldn't have asked for help they would be alive," Amanda said
"He was a good man," Jason's wife said.
"It's my fault," Amanda said.
"No, it's not your fault and I don't blame you. I really don't blame you," Jason's wife stated.
"I was going to send y'all flowers," Amanda stated.
"I just remember getting pushed out of the way and I saw something fly over me, and then I was in the worst pain of my life and I saw a tire roll over my arm and the doctor said five more inches and it would have been on my head," Amanda explained.
"I didn't even know about the other two until this lady told me I was in better shape because there was guys down there dying. You don't say things like that to me, and people were just screaming," Amanda went on," I said well they need to help the men first, don't worry about me help them, and then it didn't matter."
"I don't even know how I got out of the way. All I know is I looked down, I kicked her out of the way and I got out of there. I saw her on the side and I carried her over into the grass. And it was going really fast. They said his speedometer was clocked and locked at 60," Allen recalled.
Jason's wife explained that Jason had left his mark on this world and that he would never want anyone to carry this with them. She also told them that Jason spent his life helping people in many ways. She showed Amanda and Allen a picture of Jason.
Amanda and Allen watched the surveillance video in disbelief. But just before that, Jason's wife gave Amanda a hug of forgiveness.
Jason Albright and Dulis Surventes didn't know each other. They, like Allen Ellis, were just trying to help someone in need.
Business owners in the area say they would like to see Highway 31 widened, and the speed limit lowered.
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