KENEDY — On a recent sunny afternoon, the streets of this Karnes County town were teeming. Pickups, oil tankers and gravel trucks clogged U.S. 181. Cars were backed up at intersections. Trucks waited in a line at a gas station.
But there’s something more than just traffic crowding the town’s streets these days. There’s fear.
“You take your life in your own hands by being out on the road right now,” Karnes County Sheriff David Jalufka said.
Karnes is one of more than a dozen counties inundated with traffic from the Eagle Ford Shale energy boom. In the past six months, Karnes County alone has seen 12 people die in traffic accidents, according to Jalufka. That’s 12 times the number of fatalities reported to the Texas Department of Transportation in 2008, just as oil and gas drilling started to take off.
1. Oddly enough, I used to drive through Kenedy and then Nixon about 40 miles
further up the road. Some of the roads mentioned in the article are little more than cattle paths with some asphalt thrown on top. I recall a set of meandering hills on FM 792 that were like a roller coaster and in one instance I lost it and went off the road.
A combination of poor roads and youngsters influenced by alcohol or testosterone, then adding the trucking community that is on speed leads to a very dangerous area.