A cross is seen on U.S. Highway 190 in Nolanville in memory of Dante Fair, who was killed in a head-on collision July 10, 2013.

Three Central Texas counties experienced a total of 40 fatal vehicle crashes in 2013, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation.

The information released by the department included fatal crash statistics for Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties.

Coryell County had six fatal crashes in 2013, and Lampasas County had three.

Bell County had a total of 31 fatal crashes in the same year. Of cities in Bell County, Killeen had the most fatal crashes — seven — in 2013.

That number includes fatal crashes that killed Michael Skyler-Jones Pegues, 24, in May and Simon Nevarez, 34, in July.

Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Carroll Smith said Friday that speed was often a factor in many of last year’s fatal crashes.

“The majority of the fatal accidents that occurred last year involved alcohol or high rates of speed,” Smith said.

Killeen Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke agreed.

“Ultimately, speed is often involved in the majority of these types of accidents,” he said.

Cooke and other justices of the peace are responsible for acting as a coroner when fatalities occur, pronouncing times of death and ordering autopsies.

They are legally required to order a blood test to check for alcohol or drugs in all fatal vehicle crashes.

Temple reported six fatal crashes in 2013, according to the TxDOT data. Harker Heights and Nolanville had one each.

That same data also shows the number of fatal crashes in Bell County is down from 2012, when TxDOT reported 45 fatal crashes.

Fatal Crashes 2013

Numbers by county

  • Bell 31
  • Coryell 6
  • Lampasas 3

Numbers by city

  • Killeen 7
  • Temple 6
  • Belton 3
  • Copperas Cove 2
  • Harker Heights 1
  • Nolanville 1
  • Gatesville 0

Source: Texas Department of Transportation

Contact Chris McGuinness at chrism@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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