By Cristin Ross

Jacksonville mom Brenda Whitehead wants whoever ran her son off County Road 4118 to know she’s looking for that driver.

According to Whitehead, someone operating an unidentified vehicle caused her son, Philliup Whitehead, 19, to crash his 2005 Chevy Silverado into the trees lining the road known locally as Toll Smith Road about 7 p.m. Thursday, April 16.

He and his passenger, Maria Duran, 18, suffered considerable injuries, Whitehead said.

“(Duran) was hurt pretty bad, with a chipped lumbar, bruised knees and other injuries,” Whitehead said. “My son suffered a head contusion more than five inches long. He almost lost the top of his left ear, too.”

To make matters worse, Whitehead said, the driver who caused the crash didn’t stop to render aid afterward, even when the truck the teens were in caught on fire.

“They just barely got out of the truck,” Whitehead said. “They weren’t 25 steps away, witnesses said, before it went up.”

Jena Thomas, a friend of the Whitehead’s, noted the truck’s airbags did not deploy on impact, either.

“Other people who drive those kind of trucks might want to know that,” Thomas said.

Whitehead said if not for the kindness of an area resident, the pair may not have received any help at all.

“I’m so thankful Mr. Thompson was there,” Whitehead said. “He called EMS.”

Texas Department of Public Safety officers investigated the scene, Whitehead said, but messages left at the DPS office by the Daily Progress have not been returned.

Whitehead asks that anyone with information about the April 16 incident call the DPS office at 903-586-6826.

“I’d like to get to the bottom of this, so this doesn’t happen to anyone else’s kids,” she said.

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