By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – Three teenagers are dead following an early morning crash in Woodville. According to information provided by Woodville Chief of Police Scott Yosko, the three deceased are from Jefferson County.
They were later identified as Nicholas Breaux, 17, of Port Neches; Natalee Merriman, 17, of Nederland and Waylon Paul, 15, of Groves.
Two others, identified as Christopher Wedgeworth, 29 and Kristopher Kaye, 18, of Port Neches are injured.
According to Yosko, the five teenagers were in a vehicle that struck two telephone poles southbound on US Highway 287 near Woodville at about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.
First responders to the scene used the jaws of life to remove the vehicle’s occupants. The three deceased were pronounced dead at the scene. Wedgeworth was flown by helicopter to CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth in Beaumont and Kaye was taken to Tyler County Hospital to be examined, where he was later released, according to Woodville PD Captain Mike McCulley.
Wegeworth is listed in critical but stable condition.
According to investigation notes from Woodville PD, Wedgeworth was driving a 2007 Hyundai along the 700 block of Pine Street (US 287) and lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle ran off the road and struck a power pole, and flipped, according to McCulley.
Two of the five occupants were partially ejected from the vehicle and some of them were wearing their seatbelts, according to McCulley.
The wreck is under investigation and the Texas Department of Public Safety is assisting Woodville PD. McCulley noted that alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the accident; that excessive speed and fatigue along with an inexperienced driver may have been contributing factors.