5 members of ‘Texas’ musical killed in auto wreck
Texas (AP) — Five members of a popular summer musical production,
including three West Texas A&M University theater students, have
been killed in a car accident in the Texas Panhandle, officials said
of the dead were dancers in the production of "Texas" — a musical that
has been performed every summer at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park south
of Amarillo for 48 years — while the fifth worked in the box office,
according to Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation Executive Director Kris Miller.
"This has been devastating to our theater family," Brantley said.
The five were returning from an end-of-the-year party Monday night when the accident occurred, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Christopher Ray
said. Diaz, the driver, disregarded a stop sign and as the vehicle was
attempting to turn onto U.S. 287 near Dumas, about 40 miles north of
Amarillo, when it pulled in front of a southbound 18-wheeler and was hit
broadside on the passenger's side, a news release late Tuesday said.
The 18-wheeler's load came off the trailer and came to rest on top of the car's driver side, the release said.
Alcohol is suspected as a factor in accident, Ray said. All five were pronounced dead at the scene.
"It's a tragedy," Brantley said. "It doesn't matter how you slice it."
Amanda Starz, 20, of Timonium, Md., and Julian Arredondo, 24, of Haltom were also killed in the wreck, Ray said. TCU spokeswoman Lisa Albert said Arredondo got his bachelor's degree in fine arts in acting and graduated from the Fort Worth school in 2011.
Diaz, who had a smile "a mile wide," was a graduate of Tascosa High in Amarillo and had just transferred from Abilene Christian University, Brantley said. In a recent production at the school "he brought the house down every night. He was so funny," he said.
who graduated from Fossil Ridge High in the Fort Worth area, was "an
amazing student and a very gifted actor," Brantley said.
"If there was to be a leader among our many theater majors, it was Eric," he said.
of the production spent the night at the foundation's offices in
Canyon, comforting each other and awaiting more details on accident,
Tuesday night's performance was cancelled.
Timothy Johnson, 30, of Houston, who sat directly behind Diaz, was taken to Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo, where he was listed in critical condition, the public safety department's release late Tuesday said.
driver of the 18-wheeler, Theron Arthur McSay, 70, of Fort Collins,
Colo., was in stable condition at the same hospital, according to the
Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation produces the musical, which draws
up to 65,000 spectators each summer. The last performance of the summer
was scheduled for Saturday.
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