A devastating three-vehicle collision on State Highway 79, between Henderson and New Summerfield, has claimed the lives of a Henderson ISD student and a recent graduate, leaving several others injured. The incident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m., as confirmed by David Chenault, who serves as the public information officer for the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management and the director of communications for Henderson ISD.
Chenault stressed that the accident was not linked to any school-related event and described it as "one of the most horrific accidents they've encountered," according to first responders at the scene.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, represented by Sgt. Chris Williamson, provided details about the collision. Jonathan E. Holland, 18, of Henderson, was traveling eastbound on Highway 79 in a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado when he slowed down to make a left turn. Simultaneously, Brianne Nicole Shutter, 36, of Henderson, was driving her 2019 Jeep Wrangler eastbound behind Holland.
Shutter failed to control her speed and rear-ended the Silverado, causing it to cross into the westbound lane of Highway 79. In the westbound lane, the Silverado was struck by a 2018 Ram 2500 pickup towing a trailer.
Jonathan E. Holland and his passenger, 10-year-old Addison L. Shepard, both residents of Henderson, were pronounced dead at the scene. Brianne Nicole Shutter was transported to Christus Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, Texas, for medical treatment, while her passenger was transported to LSU Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The school district expressed its condolences and sympathy, stating, "Our thoughts and prayers remain tonight with the families of those affected by this sudden and incomprehensible tragedy."