Ferry traffic worker is killed when struck by exiting SUV
Police identified the victim as Tommy Lee Rubell Jr., 32, of Aransas Pass.
A preliminary investigation indicated that the driver, Jeronda Shea Horton, 23, of Aransas Pass, suffered an epileptic seizure while she was driving moments before striking Rubell, according to a news release issued by Port Aransas Police Lt. Darryl Johnson, the lead investigator on the case.
The incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. on the Harbor Island side of ferry operations, said Port Aransas Police Chief Scott Burroughs.
Rubell is believed to have been directing traffic when he was struck from behind by the Ford Explorer Horton was driving, police said. The vehicle had just exited a ferry as he stood on State Hwy. 361 at a point where the highway expands from a two-lane highway to several “stacking lanes” where vehicles wait in line for ferries, Burroughs said.
A preliminary investigation indicated that the SUV crossed a center line, hit the man and then hit a lamp post, breaking it in half, Burroughs said. The SUV stopped after hitting a wooden barricade about 15 feet off the highway, the chief said.
Rubell was dead at the scene.
The SUV’s air bags deployed, and Horton suffered no visible injuries, the chief said.
Police interviewed a number of witnesses in the case.
Neither alcohol nor drugs appeared to be a factor in the accident, the news release said.
Rubell was wearing a brightly colored traffic vest, Burroughs said.
The ferries were shut down for at least four hours after the accident as police conducted an investigation of the accident.
PAPD Lt. James Stokes said police were checking to see if security cameras captured the accident on videotape.
PAPD is the lead agency in the investigation, Stokes said. The Texas Department of Public Safety is assisting, he said.