22 years have passed since Texas saw a deathless day on its roads

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - The night of September 16th, 2008, still looms over Delbert Gann’s TxDOT co-workers, family, and friends.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” said Darren Hester, Gann’s co-worker, and friend. “I was going up to the hill to get something to eat that evening, and I come back, and he’s, you know, he got hit.”

“He was a great guy,” said Debra Cook, Gann’s daughter. “He was a fair parent, just wonderful. The family is really not the same anymore. We’re kind of spread out. They were our glue that held us together, and now we don’t have that.”

Gann was hit by another vehicle while clearing an overturned propane tank near the intersection of Highway 75 and 82.

His family said it was preventable.

“He died over a text message, somebody texting and driving, and you know that’s not okay,” said Cook.

According to TxDOT, Gann is one of the 75,000 people who have died on Texas roads since November 2000.

Not a single day with no death on the state’s roads has passed in those two decades.

“A majority of our crashes, here, at least in the Paris District, are behavioral, so that means we are the cause of that,” said Monica Yates, a behavioral traffic safety specialist for TxDOT’s Paris District.

TxDOT said drivers can break the streak.

“Buckling your seatbelt,” said Yates. “It’s the simplest thing you can do. Maintain your speed, don’t drink and drive, and get rid of the distractions with your car.”

Now, Gann’s family said they have a message for everyone who gets behind the wheel: put the distractions down.

“Nobody’s life is worth any of it,” said Cook. “Especially, the families that lose a parent, lose their loved ones, that are working on the highways. It’s not worth it.”