By Jimmie Ferguson

Killeen Daily Herald

A 68-year-old Copperas Cove man began to shiver and then broke down in tears.

Purnell C. Banks had just realized how close he had come to death as he looked at his old Volkswagen Rabbit lying on its top in the median of U.S. Highway 190 just east of the overpass leading to West Fort Hood.

Banks and the car were involved in a two-vehicle collision shortly before noon Monday.

Banks, who was towing a trailer, was traveling east on Highway 190, followed by a Dodge Ram pickup also towing a trailer, said Department of Public Safety Trooper Gary Stiles.

The Volkswagen Rabbit was traveling at 50 mph and the Dodge Ram was traveling at 70 mph, Stiles said. The driver in the Dodge Ram underestimated the speed of the Volkswagen Rabbit and struck its trailer in the rear.

Stiles said the trailer went to the right and was destroyed upon impact, and Banks car veered to the left, flipped sideways and rolled over.

Banks saw his wife, Beatrice I. Banks, 62, being whisked off in an ambulance to Darnall Army Community Hospital on Fort Hood for a complaint of an injury to her head. He had assisted the investigating officer in determining what happened before breaking down in tears.

Why did this happen to me? Why did this happen to me? repeated the retired Army master sergeant as he looked at his damaged vehicles.

You know, I dont usually lose it. Im always in control, Banks said. But this has taken its toll on me.

Darren Palmer, 28, of Copperas Cove, the driver of the Dodge, was not injured and drove off in his vehicle.

Eastbound traffic on Highway 190 from that point to Copperas Cove was impeded for nearly an hour.

Contact Jimmie Ferguson at

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