By MARY RAINWATER
The Palestine Police Department is continuing to investigate an early morning wreck on Thanksgiving Day in which a passenger was killed after being thrown from the vehicle.
Just after 2 a.m. on Thursday, officers were dispatched to the 600 block of S. Sycamore Street in reference to an auto accident.
During the initial stages of the investigation, officers learned that a 1999 Jeep Wrangler was traveling south on Sycamore Street and hit a Chevy SUV parked in the 500 block of Sycamore.
“The Jeep continued into the 600 block of Sycamore Street, where it crashed into a Nissan car and then crashed into a Dodge truck,” Palestine Police Sgt. James Muniz said. “The Jeep then spun onto the sidewalk before coming to rest in the 600 block of Sycamore.”
The driver of the Jeep, 21-year-old Stephen Ray Parton of Longview, was transported to Palestine Regional Medical Center by ambulance. Parton was treated and released into police custody.
According to police, the passenger — whose identity is being withheld pending notification of the family — suffered severe head injuries due to being ejected from the Jeep and died at the scene as a result of those injuries.
The passenger was pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Gary Thomas, and an autopsy has been ordered.
“The cause of the accident is still under investigation,” Muniz said, “and officers are trying to determine if speed and alcohol may have contributed to the accident.”
Officer C. Lusk with the Palestine PD is leading the investigation into the cause of the wreck, with Sgt. Muniz and Det. C. Weber assisting.