GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Wrong way signs are there, but the left turn from State Highway 360 south onto U.S. 287 south still manages to confuse drivers who have to cross several northbound lanes and a median.
“I’ve seen it happened where people have gotten confused, not knowing where to go, and they’ve corrected themselves,” said Cody Pae.
At 1 a.m.Thursday morning, though, Pae saw a driver make the turn into the wrong lanes and keep going.
“I knew something bad was bound to happen,” he said.
Pae honked his horn, then called 911, while following the driver from the right side of the freeway. The driver, he said, passed several cars, but stuck to the right side of the road, as if he was travelling on a two lane highway.
A mile and a half later, Pae pulled up to the wreckage.
“I could see the flames and just from there I knew,” he said. “I could smell the plastic and everything burning. Walked up to the scene… to see the people in the vehicle… two lifeless bodies.”
Grand Prairie police say the wrong way driver was 46 year old musician John Layton.
Friends say he had toured with country stars, like Mark Chestnut, once released CD of his own, and taught music classes at the local LBJ Elementary. This site hosts an interview and some of his music.
Friends remember as a loving husband and father to a four year old girl.
“You know, your heart breaks for the family,” said his pastor Paul Mints.
Mints isn’t sure why Layton was on the road so late, or how he got turned around.
“We’re never gonna make sense of this, even if we have all the details,” he said.
The woman he hit, 20 year old Alex Elizabeth Ford, was a psychology student at Tarrant County College, according to family. Her cousin, Melissa Jones, said Ford was headed home from visiting her boyfriend when the crash happened. She died at the scene.
“She made that drive a thousand times and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Jones.