Elderly Man Killed on Texas Highway After Attempting to Evade Wildfires


MAY, TX – A 78-year-old man was killed on Sunday night after he attempted to make a U-turn to avoid a dangerous West Texas wildfires.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, on Mar. 20 at around 10:30 p.m., troopers with the Texas DPS were dispatched to the US 183, around 3.3 miles south of May, for the report of a major crash.

When the troopers arrived, they discovered a 2005 Buick LeSabre and a 2006 Chevrolet K1500 that had crashed in the middle of the roadway. One of the drivers, later identified as Jerry Burnett, 78, of May, was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Initial investigations revealed that the LeSabre, traveling south, was stopped on the shoulder of southbound US-183 to make a U-turn.  The pickup was also traveling south and struck the LeSabre on the driver's side as the LeSabre made a U-turn. The LeSabre spun around, ejecting the unsecured driver.

“They were trying to evacuate from the fire," Wheeler said. "They had heard something on the radio about the road being closed so they were going to do a U-turn and go back toward May. As Mr. Burnett pulled into the roadway he was struck by a vehicle that was traveling southbound.”

His body was taken to Heartland Funeral Home in Early. 

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