Auto vs. bicyclist, county’s second fatal MVA in under 48 hours

Conroe- A 78-year-old bicyclist was struck and killed by a passenger car on SH 242 around 9:50 Tuesday morning.

Sgt. Terry Barnhill with the Texas Department of Public Safety said Max Kunz of Conroe was westbound the shoulder of the highway between FM 1314 and Glen Eagle Dr. near the San Jacinto River bridge when a 1995 Honda Accord, driven by 24-year-old Christopher Yelverton of Kingwood struck him.

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“The Honda Accord drifted over to the north, or to the right, and struck the bicyclist as he was peddling,” Barnhill said. “He passed away on the scene.”

Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts conducted the inquest and ordered the body taken to the Southeast Texas Forensic Center in Conroe for autopsy.

Witnesses traveling in two cars behind Yelverton told investigating officers Kunz was about a foot from the grass beyond the shoulder of the road. Barnhill said evidence also indicated Kunz was well inside the shoulder area and the car drifted over and hit him in a curve.

There were no apparent mechanical problems with Yelverton’s car, Barnhill said, and he did not appear to be intoxicated. However, Yelverton was asked to submit to a blood draw and he readily complied. Barnhill said that has become standard practice.

“He just said that when he was coming into this curve, he just wasn’t paying attention and drifted over,” Barnhill said.

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon and prosecutor Warren Diepraam with the Vehicular Crimes Section of the DA’s Office were also on location. They examined the scene and conferred with DPS.

Yelverton was not arrested. Barnhill said DPS would conduct a complete investigation, which will be turned over to the DA’s office who will present it to a grand jury if evidence supports and indictment. The sergeant also stated that “homicide” was most likely the charge that would be pursued.

Public data shows Yelverton has no criminal history.

The fatality was the county’s second in less than 48 hours. Around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident on SH 105 took the life of 60-year-old Ricky James Carleton of Cleveland and seriously injured his wife, Janice Alexander Carleton.

That driver remains at large.

Tuesday’s collision was also about a mile from where an eastbound intoxicated driver swerved onto the eastbound, or south, shoulder and struck a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle around 2:20 a.m. on Monday morning as the deputy was about to exit the vehicle.

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