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Boerne teen killed in tragic spring break crash

DPS: Speed possible factor in crash that killed Sydney K. Smith, 18

BOERNE, Texas – The crippled oak tree, charred by fire along Scenic Loop Road, is a stark reminder of the spring break tragedy that left Champion High School senior Sydney K. Smith dead on her 18th birthday.

Jeff Talley said, from now on whenever he passes by, "I'll think about it every time. It's rough."

Talley was among the good Samaritans who ran to help after the small Scion slammed into the oak tree Thursday around 2 p.m.

He said flames could be seen under the hood, so they used fire extinguishers until firefighters arrived, who then used the Jaws of Life to free the young woman.

She was one of three teenagers in the vehicle driven by Aidan Vitela, 19, with Victoria Snell, 16, in the back seat.

"We got him out and the girl in the back, but the other girl, there was no chance to get her out," Talley said.

But Talley said he and the other good Samaritans tried their best.

"Well, we couldn't do anything else," he said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety reports speed was a possible factor, but the investigation isn't over.

Talley said they probably were out for a drive on a beautiful afternoon during spring break.

The stretch of Scenic Loop Road where the accident occurred is known for its sharp "S" curves.

"There's wrecks out here pretty frequently," Talley said. "People try to go too fast, miss the curve, get in the gravel and end up hitting a tree."

Talley said, even so, "That's the worst one I've seen."

A DPS trooper at the scene said the crashes have been periodic over the past five years, but no worse than other parts of Kendall County.

Several signs warn drivers to slow down to 15 miles per hour on the curves. Otherwise, the trooper said the speed limit on Scenic Loop Road is 30-45 miles per hour.  

He said additional signage wouldn't hurt, but ultimately, it's up to drivers.

"Just for people to slow down, just slow down," said Janice Kerr, who lives across the road from that now blackened oak tree.