On 2/23/2019 at approximately 5:52 PM, Troopers responded to a one vehicle fatal crash on FM-773 in Van Zandt County, three miles north of the city of Ben Wheeler. Preliminary crash investigation revealed that the driver of a 2009 Dodge Journey, Martha Geale Vela, 17, of Ben Wheeler was traveling North on FM-773. The vehicle gradually drove off the roadway, the driver then swerved back onto the road traveling into the opposite lane of travel before overcorrecting to the right, traveling into the east ditch where it began to roll from the left driver side. Both rear passengers were ejected from the vehicle.
The driver was transported to Christus Mother Francis Hospital-Tyler in critical condition. A 16 year old female passenger was also transported to Christus Mother Francis Hospital-Tyler. Two 15 year old male passengers were riding unrestrained and were ejected from the vehicle and pronounced at the scene by Judge Shinn.
The crash remains under investigation.