Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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April 2, 2014

2 life-flighted to hospital after wreck in Rusk

RUSK — Two people were life-flighted to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler Monday night after a wreck on FM 347 in Rusk.

Department of Public Safety officials arrived on scene about 9 p.m. to discover that a three-quarter ton Ford pickup had left the road and hit two oak trees.

Jimmy Earl Rawlinson, 61, of New Summerfield, and Leighann Odom, 44, of Palestine, were found seriously injured inside the truck.

“It was a pretty nasty wreck,” Trooper Steven Crosby said. “I really thought the guy would die, but I called the hospital this morning (Tuesday), and he was still in critical condition in ICU.”

Crosby said he believes the one-vehicle wreck was caused by drug or alcohol impairment. He said according to Odom, the pair were driving to Palestine after visiting a club.

Rawlinson had a recent arrest for driving while intoxicated, as well, according to Crosby.

“He had prescription meds in the vehicle that are commonly abused. It was highly obvious that he was unconscious when he left the road,” Crosby said.

Crosby said there were no signs of the truck braking to avoid the collision with the trees. Toxicology reports are pending.

The wreck occurred about one-half mile from Hwy. 84 on FM 347. He said neither Rawlinson nor Odom were wearing seatbelts, and the truck did not have airbags.

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