Abbott firefighter killed after being struck by firetruck along I-35

Abbott Firefighter Howard "Dan"  Wright
Abbott Firefighter Howard "Dan" Wright
Published: Apr. 15, 2023 at 9:10 AM CDT
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ABBOTT, Texas (KWTX) - An Abbott volunteer firefighter was killed while providing ground guide services along I-35 around 8 p.m. on April 14.

Texas DPS officials say Horace Dan Wright was “backed into by the firetruck” near mile marker 359. The firefighter was then transported to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest in Waco, where he was later pronounced dead.

According to the Hill County Sheriff’s Office, the Abbott Fire Department was at the scene of what was believed to be a motor vehicle crash on IH35, just south of the new Main Street Market.

“As they arrived, it was determined that it was actually a stranded motorist and they opted to stay on scene to assist with traffic control until a wrecker arrived,” the sheriff’s office said.

As the firefighters were repositioning to provide better assistance, one of the fire fighters was struck by the fire truck.

“Immediately, life saving measures were started and additional emergency services were summoned to the scene,” the sheriff’s office said, “The firefighter was flown to Hillcrest Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”

“Please join us as we grieve this tragic loss of a man who died in the service of strangers. Hill County was grateful for him and will not be the same without him,” the sheriff said.

Abbott residents say the news has shaken their close-knit community.

“I think it definitely impacts a community like Abbott a little more since everybody knows everybody around here, I mean it just hits a little harder,” Natalie McCartney, and Abbott resident, said.

This comes just days before the ten-year mark of the West explosion, and just weeks after West volunteer firefighter Eddie Hykel was also killed along the same interstate while in the line of duty.

“Almost ten years to the day later, we lose two more firefighters in the last two weeks,” Robert Payne, the West fire department chaplain, told KWTX. “One last night from Abbott, and one of our own, Eddie Hykel, who died two weeks ago. We just appreciate his service so much, and I know Abbott feels the same about firefighter Wright who lost his life last night.”

Community members say both Hykel and Wright’s deaths serve as a somber reminder to slow down and take more precaution on the highway.

“We can all slow down, which is hard because I live a really busy life, too,” Lori Mynar, and Abbott resident, said. “But we just have to slow down.”