DPS: 1 killed in three-vehicle crash that occurred Saturday on U.S highway 96

Published 12:01 am Sunday, August 7, 2022

HARDIN COUNTY — Texas Department of Public Safety troopers are investigating a three-vehicle crash that occurred Saturday on U.S highway 96, north of Village Creek in Hardin County.

The preliminary crash investigation indicates at approximately 12:45 p.m.; a 2014 Kia Soul was traveling north and had slowed for a vehicle turning right.

A 2001 northbound GMC pickup moved over onto the improved shoulder then swerved back to the left, striking the Kia.

The Kia was then struck by a northbound 2006 Peterbilt truck tractor semi-trailer.

The driver of the Kia is identified as Benjamin Whitfill, 41, from Silsbee; he was transported to also transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for treatment.

One of the two passengers who were with Whitfill at the time of the crash is identified as, 36-year-old Laura Whitfill. She was pronounced deceased at the scene by a Hardin County Justice of the Peace.

The second passenger, a 8-year-old child passenger was also transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for treatment.

The driver of the GMC is identified as Freddie Smith, 75, from Lumberton was transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Beaumont.

The driver of the Peterbilt is identified as Christopher Caraway, 50, from Silsbee was not injured during the crash.