Family and friends mourn two killed in head on collision

SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - Two East Texans lose their lives in a head on collision. The accident happened around 3:15 Wednesday on FM 14 in Smith County.

DPS troopers say 22-year-old Payton Herrington tried to pass an 18 wheeler in a no-passing zone. They say she struck 51-year-old motorcyclist Darryl Towne head on. He died at the scene, and she was pronounced dead hours later at ETMC.

Family and friends of both victims are reeling over the losses.

Darryl Towne had several loves in life: his wife, his kids, and his motorcycle.

"Such a fun filled guy," says his best friend, David McKinney. He drove trucks alongside Towne for the past 6 years.

"Best worker I've ever had. Good friend. More than a coworker," McKinney says through tears.

Towne was on his way to work at the FM 14 Pilot Travel Center, when he was hit head on.

"It was a tremendous wreck," says Ewell Love. He's 22-year-old victim Payton Herrington's father.

Love unknowingly passed by the wreck on his way to work Wednesday morning.

"I thought, 'What a terrible accident. Someone must be really hurt. Low and behold, several hours later they informed me that it was my daughter," he cries.

Herrington was a UT Tyler student.

"She had a few problems that were quirks. She was a night owl, but she made the dean's list and turned her life around," he says.

Love can't believe his little girl is gone.

"My God you can see the wreckage here," he says about the torn up roadside where the accident happened.

A long mangled fence shows how powerful the impact of this accident was. The entire area is still covered in shards of glass, car parts, and personal items. 

Love says he taught his daughter about reckless driving.

"I know it wasn't intentionally and our heart goes out to the family of the motorcyclist," he says.

"Life's not fair," McKinney shakes his head, thinking about Towne.

"It's not a game out here on these highways," Love says. "It can get you killed as you can see."

His message is for other young drivers, hoping their families won't ever have to feel his pain.


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