Breitbart Texas reporter Bob Price was in a rollover car accident Saturday evening while on assignment riding along with a Brooks County Sheriff’s Department volunteer reserve deputy named Daniel Walden. Thankfully, neither Price nor Walden were seriously injured in the accident, which occurred on U.S. Highway 281 just north of the Hidalgo County line around 9:25 pm Central Time.
Price spoke to this writer on the phone Sunday morning to share how the accident happened. When the accident occurred, Walden was responding to call about an 18 wheel truck that had overturned on Highway 281. They were driving southbound, with lights and sirens on, but below the speed limit due to the severe thunderstorms at the time. Walden’s vehicle hit some standing water on the road and hydroplaned.
As Price describes it, “all of a sudden I just felt the back end of the vehicle slide out from under us,” and the vehicle spun several times on the road before going off the right side of the road. The natural terrain in this region is a very soft sand, and when the vehicle hit this sand, it overturned two and a quarter times, coming to rest on the driver’s side.
“We’re both extremely lucky,” said Price, calling the sand a “blessing,” because although it triggered the rollover it was also a soft surface to cushion their vehicle’s landing, thus reducing the force of the impact.
Traffic was backed up on the highway due to the bad weather, and within seconds, people arrived on the scene to assist Walden and Price. The windshield had smashed on impact, and the rescuers were able to break it away completely and help Walden and Price out of the vehicle through the front. Another bystander who stopped to help was a nurse, who examined the two men at the scene and made sure they were stabilized and safe while waiting for the emergency personnel to arrive.
Price says that very shortly after the accident, officers from the Brooks County Sheriff’s Department, the Falfurrias Police Department, the U.S. Border Patrol, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and an ambulance all had responded to the scene. Walden, who was on the side of the vehicle where the impact was, suffered minor abrasions on his head and some scratches. Price did not suffer any immediately apparent injuries. As a precautionary measure, both were transported to an area hospital to be examined.
Walden, the Acting Police Chief with the Donna Independent School District (ISD), founded and leads an organization called the Border Brotherhood of Texas, a group of volunteer law enforcement officers who provide critically needed support to Brooks County. As Price has previously reported for Breitbart Texas, Brooks County is not on the border but the county has nontheless become “a choke point for the trafficking of illegal immigrants, narco-traffickers, and foreign gang members,” and many illegal immigrants die while attempting to traverse the “rough, isolated terrain.”
So many illegal immigrants have died in Brooks County that the autopsy and burial costs have totaled over $300,000, an overwhelming burden on this sparsely populated rural county. Brooks County was forced to cut pay and is unable to provide health insurance for its deputies, and the department has only six patrol deputies to cover almost 1,000 square miles, roughly the size of Rhode Island. The Border Brotherhood of Texas is a completely volunteer group of about twenty-five certified police officers who provide desperately needed manpower. Many of the volunteer deputies do not even live in Brooks County, some driving over a hundred miles to report for duty.
In addition to his work with the Donna ISD and as a volunteer deputy in Brooks County, Walden has also worked as a police academy driving instructor. He has been driving police cars and ambulances for over 20 years, no at fault accidents. Price described the rollover as a “freak accident” that “could have happened to anyone,” and credited Walden’s driving and the safety equipment in the vehicle as the reasons that the accident was not more severe than it was.
Price described the accident photos as “horrible,” saying that it “looks like an accident that nobody should have walked away from,” adding how grateful he was that they were actually both able to walk away from it.
“What this illustrates is the inherent dangers that the people who are volunteering to work as Brooks County deputies for free are facing,” said Price, “So while I’m very grateful that I’m not seriously hurt, I’m also grateful that these people are willing to put their lives at risk to protect the rest of us.”
Photo credit: Bob Price for Breitbart Texas.
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