A recent Harker Heights high school graduate died in the early morning hours yesterday while he was a passenger in a car that rolled over on US 1431 in Smithwick, a Texas Department of Public Safety official said Wednesday. The driver had swerved to avoid hitting a deer at 3 a.m., sending the car into a fishtail, said Trooper Robbie Barrera.
Joseph Alaniz, 18, of Killeen was among the passengers of a 2007 Mazda 3 being driven Brandon Cook, 18, of Harker Heights. Alaniz was pronounced dead at the scene by Burnet County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Peggy Simon. Two other passengers, Vasantha Fraser, 19, and Dre’Quan Myers, 19, were taken to Seton Round Rock hospital. Meyers is in critical condition. Cook and Fraser have been treated and released.
“We’re not sure if alcohol was involved,” Barrera said, explaining that blood is drawn as part of the autopsy process in fatal collisions.
“When you’re out on the roads early in the morning, make sure you’re being safe and watching for distractions and other hazards,” Barrera said.