Disabled vehicle on the highway again proves fatal — what to do if you break down

It was just before 3 a.m. on Saturday morning when a 2005 Escalade carrying two male passengers and a female drive popped a tire on I-635 at the Coit Road exit. The two men got out of the car to check on the damage, just as Jeffery Davis was driving up in his GMC Sierra pick-up truck.

Police say Davis was intoxicated when he plowed into the back of the Escalade, pinning one man between the two cars and sending the other flying into a lane of oncoming traffic. The man who was pinned, Joel Banaca, died on scene. The other man had unspecified injuries but will recover. Davis was arrested on charges of “intoxication manslaughter.”

It is the second time in a month that a disabled vehicle ended in a fatality on the highways that wrap around and through our neighborhood. On Oct. 19, Bruce Harris, the brother of Mavericks player Devin Harris, was killed in a strikingly similar car crash on Central Expressway.

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If you break down on the highway and cannot navigate your car to safety, the National Safety Council recommends “Don’t stand behind or next to your vehicle. If the car is in the roadway, stand away from the vehicle and wait for help to arrive.”

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This is especially true if it is dark, late at night when drivers are more likely to be intoxicated, or during inclement weather.
AAA adds, “If you cannot get your vehicle to a location away from traffic, or if you are uncertain about your safety and think your vehicle may get struck from behind, do not stay in your vehicle.”

Always use your emergency flashers and wait for a professional to assist in moving the car — do not attempt to push it yourself, the safety agencies agree.

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