The first of these collisions occurred Monday evening on the highway in northern Bee County.
Justice of the Peace Ted Staples pronounced Sergio Colunga-Olveda, a San Antonio construction worker, dead at the scene shortly after the two-vehicle collision, according to a report filed by Highway Patrol Trooper Marvin Baker.
Baker was called to the accident at about 5:05 p.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 181, a half mile south of the Karnes County line.
Colunga-Olveda was a passenger in a northbound 2003 Mitsubishi driven by 31-year-old Eduardo Cordova, also from San Antonio, when a southbound 2010 Toyota Corolla crossed the center line into their lane, according to the trooper’s report.
Cordova swerved to the west side of the highway to avoid the collision, but his front fender hit the right front of the Toyota.
Cordova and the driver of the Toyota, Valerie Stern, a 24-year-old nurse from Beeville, were both injured and sent to Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville for treatment.
According to Baker’s report, the speed limit on that stretch of highway is 70 mph.
The victims were all wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident.
The second collision occurred just outside of Kenedy, involving three vehicles, about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
According to DPS Trooper Scott Jendezey, a 21-year-old Ingleside man was following a Select Energy Services truck headed north on Highway 181, when a caliche load fell from the belly of the truck.
The spilled caliche caused the Nissan Altima to lose control and swerve into oncoming traffic, according to the trooper.
An 18-wheeler in the southbound lane tried to avoid the Altima but was unable to do so and struck the vehicle.
The Altima was demolished, while the 18-wheeler that struck it received minimal damage.
The driver of the Altima was cut out of the vehicle and taken by ambulance to the airport where he was HALO-Flighted to a hospital in San Antonio.
Trooper Jendezey said the man was conscious when he left in the ambulance but the extent of his injuries are not known at this time.
Texas Department of Transportation officials were on-site to help clear the estimated 40,000-50,000 pounds of caliche off the road. Further repairs also will have to be done to a guardrail that was damaged by the 18-wheeler that swerved to try and avoid the collision.
Traffic was backed up for miles as crews worked to clear the mud and debris from the roadway.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
Christina Rowland is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 119, or at regional@mySouTex.com.