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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Driver's fatal wreck delays Union Pacific service

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Feb. 12, 2002 -- An Odessa man was killed in a one-vehicle accident on Interstate  20 Monday afternoon that delayed traffic on Union Pacific's  mainline between Fort Worth and El Paso for about an hour, company  officials said.

No trains were involved in the accident, but the vehicle ended up blocking the main line's single track in an open cut on the north side of Interstate 20, after it crossed six lanes of traffic then traveled up a hill and into the cut, which is located about seven miles east of Barstow in Ward County.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Derrick Evans filed the accident report, and said that the incident occurred at approximately 2:45 p.m., Monday on I-20.

Don Errol McCowan, 58, of Odessa was killed in the crash, and was pronounced dead at the scene by Ward County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Pasqual Olibas at 3:30 p.m.

According to Evans' report, McCowan was traveling from Pecos toward Odessa in a 1994 Ford F-250 pickup when the accident occurred near mile marker 56.

"The vehicle left the eastbound lanes on a northeastern path cutting across the center median, the westbound lanes of 1-20 and both lanes of the north service road," according to the trooper's report. "The vehicle continued up the slope and struck several boulders and became airborne. The vehicle came to rest on its passenger side facing southeast on the railroad tracks."

The road conditions yesterday were dry and clear, and the cause of the accident is unknown at this time. An autopsy was ordered by Olibas, according to Evans.

Other drivers who witnessed the accident said McCowan appeared to be slumped over in the pickup as it crossed all four lanes of the interstate and the I-20 north service road before going up the hill and onto the railroad tracks.

John Williams, an attendant for Med-Tech Ambulance Service of Odessa, was one of the first on the scene following the accident, after he and his partner had dropped a patient off in Pecos and were returning home.

"We were coming over the hill and he was about a mile in front of us," Williams said. "I wasn't paying that much attention, but when I saw him it looked like he was going at a 90 degree angle across the road.

"I didn't know if there was a (cross) road over here, but when I saw the dust cloud I figured it wasn't good news," he said, adding that McCowan was wearing his seat belt and was cut out of the restraint by the attendants, after they arrived on the scene.

Emergency Medical Service and fire personnel from Pecos were called out, but canceled a short time later. Ward County EMS workers did go to the accident site and were on scene until McCowan was pronounced dead by Olibas.

The impact of the pickup was severe enough to cause a slight dent in one of the track rails, and sent a tire from the pickup up the other side of the open cut and into a field north of the railroad tracks. Other items, including shotgun shells and a toolbox, were scattered long the tracks.

The location of the pickup also made removal difficult, and Union Pacific was forced to shut down service until the vehicle and its contents could be removed from the tracks.

Mark Davis, a spokesperson for Union Pacific, said the accident had caused several delays, but that the tracks have since been repaired.

"About a dozen trains were out there," said Davis, and the crash had caused delays to four trains.

"One train was delayed 45 minutes, one was delayed for an hour and 15 minutes and two more were delayed for an hour and 45 minutes," said Davis.

"Repairs have been made and everything started back up at 6:35 p.m. yesterday," said Davis.

Davis said trains and operations at Union Pacific are now running smoothly.

Evans said officials are not sure at this time if alcohol was a factor in the cause of the accident, and the incident remains under investigation.

Local churches schedule special services for Lent

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Feb. 12, 2002 -- Area churches are preparing for the first day of Lent, which is  Wednesday, with special services set.

Santa Rosa Catholic Church, 620 E. Fourth St., will have Liturgy of the Word, at 7 a.m., with the distribution of ashes; at noon, the church will hold a communion service with the distribution of ashes and at 7 p.m., there will be a mass with the distribution of ashes.

St. Catherine Catholic Church, Plum and Walthall streets, will have a 7:30 a.m. mass with the distribution of ashes and a communion service with the distribution of ashes at 6 p.m.

Christ the King in Balmorhea will have a mass at 7 p.m.; Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Saragosa will have communion service with the distribution of ashes at 6 p.m. and Our Lady of Refuge in Barstow will have a mass with the distribution of ashes at 6:30 a.m.

First United Methodist Church, 301 S. Elm, will have an Ash Wednesday Service at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday.

On Thursday, March 28, the church will observe, "Maundy Thursday," with a service at 7 p.m. and on Good Friday, March 29, from noon until 3 p.m., there will be a time of meditation.

Other special services at the Methodist Church will be at 10:55 on Palm Sunday, March 24 and Easter Sunday, March 31.

Spring soccer play sign-ups continue at rec dept.

PECOS, Tues., Feb. 12, 2002 -- The Reeves County Community Sports and Recreation Department  is signing up boys and girls for its Spring soccer program between  now and March 2 at the recreation department's office in the old  Pecos High School gym.

The program is open for boys and girls between the ages of 4½ and 14. Parents of children who are interested in playing can pick up forms at the recreation department office in the rec department office during regular hours.

Entry fee is $10 per child and a birth certificate and signatures from both parents are needed on the registration form. For further information, call 447-9776.


PECOS, Tues., Feb. 12, 2002 -- High Monday 59. Low this morning 32. Forecast for tonight:  Increasing cloudiness. Lows 25 to 30. Northeast winds 10 to 20 mph: Becoming east  5 to 10 mph by midnight. Wednesday: Mostly cloudy early:  Becoming partly cloudy by afternoon. Highs 50 to 55. Light northeast  winds: Becoming southeast 5 to 15 mph by afternoon. Wednesday night:  Partly cloudy. Lows 25 to 30. Thursday: Partly cloudy. Highs in the mid  60s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30. Highs 55 to 60.


Christopher Cook and John Jackson

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Pecos Enterprise
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