The events leading up to a fiery crash along Interstate 10 near Boerne that killed a man are baffling to some people, including accident scene investigators.
Barton Touchstone, 48, died in the crash around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. It happened on the access road of Interstate 10 East near Ralph Fair Road, right outside the Scenic Oaks subdivision.
Touchstone was driving a car that went out of control, smashed through one side of a stone bridge wall and came to rest on top of the other, before bursting into flames.
Sgt. Louis Antu, spokesman for the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, said it appears he was fleeing the scene of another minor crash in which a driver’s cell phone was taken. That earlier crash happened just west of the fatal scene.
Antu said the other driver told investigators that Touchstone had asked to use her cell phone after hitting her vehicle from behind. For some reason, Touchstone then sped away with the phone, Antu said.
At the scene Wednesday morning, Curtis Havel, who lives in the nearby subdivision, swept up debris, including a cell phone case.
Neighbors driving by occasionally stopped to talk with him about the fiery crash.
“One of the residents helped pull him out and apparently two other folks that were coming down the access road,” Havel said. "They said his clothes were actually starting to catch on fire as they were pulling him out.”
Havel said neighbors told him it was clear Touchstone was badly injured and probably would not survive. He died at the scene.
Perhaps even more unusual for residents than the death scene outside their front gate is what happened just before the crash. Havel said the whole thing makes no sense to him.
A profile of Touchstone on his online Facebook account shows he’s a San Antonio native now living in upscale Scottsdale, Ariz. Various pictures show him with his wife and children, posing at a number of vacation spots, from the Caribbean to California ski resorts.
Early Wednesday morning, Touchstone’s wife posted a message on the site, telling his friends about his death.
Accident investigators, meanwhile, are at a loss to explain the events.
Antu said they’ll have to wait for toxicology tests to determine if alcohol or drugs were involved.