18-year-old man killed after truck goes off bridge on Hwy 71 in Bastrop identified

(Photo: CBS Austin)

A crash on Hwy 71 in Bastrop has left a teenager dead.

The Bastrop Police Department says the crash happened just after 5 a.m. on Monday.

They say the driver of a pickup truck, identified as 18-year-old Tyler Babbitt of Channelview, Texas, was traveling west on Hwy 71 when he lost control of the vehicle.

As he attempted to regain control, the truck began to spin across traffic. The rear of the truck hit the median, went through it and off a bridge into a ditch filled with water.

Babbitt was found dead at the scene.

This crash was right outside Andre Hortness' home and auto shop off 71. He says that's not the first fatal crash he's seen at that creek. About 10 or 15 years ago, Hortness remembers two teenagers flying off the road into the creek below. He went to help after the crash. “I think one boy ended up dying and the other boy was okay," Hortness said.

Hortness could list off several other fatal crashes over the years on Hwy 71. He knows how dangerous that stretch of highway can be. “I think something needs to be done about it, it’s dangerous right now," Hortness said.

There is a TxDOT project to improve safety on Hwy 71 between Austin and Bastrop. There are currently four traffic lights in that stretch, and TxDOT is working on a few projects that would get rid of all those lights by widening the highway and possibly adding overpasses.

There is set to be a open house on a project just north of the crash Monday morning on November 15 at the Bastrop Convention Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Hortness said he plans to go to that open house.

Those projects, though, may not be done until after 2022. In the mean time, Hortness would like to see more police patrolling the highway. Especially because his son drives the highway every day to get to and from school. “I do worry everyday because I see the people out there, how they’re driving and the stupidity of their driving, so it’s dangerous," Hortness said.

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