By Lori Bredemeyer, Managing Editor
Drivers traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday encountered heavier traffic and more serious driving conditions, and a few students were involved in wrecks last weekend.
Dr. Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life, said he knows at least four students who had wrecks during the break, although he does not have many details.
Caden Jameson, sophomore management major from Lovington, N.M., was seriously injured in a wreck with his uncle and friend near his hometown Sunday morning. Barnard said Jameson is currently being treated at Covenant Health System in Lubbock, and it is unknown how long he will remain there.
Katie Ritter, freshman biology major from Louise, and Joelly Rasamoelina, freshman sociology major from Fianrantsdai, Madagascar, were involved in a wreck outside of Mineral Wells on Sunday and were taken to Palo Pinto General Hospital in Mineral Wells. Both girls are now back at school.
Philip Greer, freshman management major from Colorado Springs, Colo., called Barnard to say he had totaled his truck and he would have to ride back to school with someone else after the weather cleared up.
Barnard said he is thankful nothing more serious happened.
“I hold my breath every holiday time because there’s just more people on the road,” he said. “None of these accidents were because of carelessness, but when you’ve got a community like we have of 5,000 or more faculty, staff and students traveling in every direction as well as overseas, I think we’ve got to be in prayer for safety.”
Sergeant Scott Stevenson of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the number of wrecks was about average for a holiday weekend, and animals caused many of them. He said the department has responded to several in the past few weeks that involved deer, cows and even a horse.
“With the holidays, traffic always picks up,” Stevenson said, “and also the college kids go home for vacation, so the traffic is pretty strong from the time they get out to the time they go back to school. That’s usually a busy time for us.”
Barnard said after being involved in a wreck, especially at the end of a semester, one concern is arranging for students to make up schoolwork.
“It’s difficult for students to have these issues right at finals time,” he said. “That’s kind of what we do these last two weeks is work out these issues of when people can take their finals and if they need to take incompletes and how that will all work. But I think … there’s a real sense that you just step in and do what you need to do to help students make it through.”