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Two Fatal Crashes On I-35 Mark Cone Zone Danger

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Two traffic wrecks within a mile and just a few hours of each other in Dallas this morning... and two lives lost. Narrow pavement shoulders played a role in both collisions.

The first involved a driver leaving her car after a minor fender-bender. And that was a mistake that cost 24-year-old Johnetta Morgan her life, according to investigators. The Dallas mother of three was in a slight accident a little before 7:00 while on her way to work. She'd just left a construction zone and there was no shoulder. She stopped and apparently stepped out of her car...and when a passing pickup truck hit it, crushed her underneath. "It appears the second vehicle that hit her is what actually killed her," according to Dallas County Sheriff's Captain Don Rowe, who heads the department's traffic safety division.

Thursday afternoon, Morgan's family lamented her passing. "She was loving and caring and giving and happy and loving everybody," Morgan's mother Patty Andrade told CBS 11 News.

Johnetta Morgan leaves behind three children, ages one, three, and four. She asked her disabled mother to move in to help care for the kids so she could work. The time they saw her was bedtime last night, according to Andrade. "She came in and the kids were sleeping in my room and gave everybody a kiss and said she loved them and, 'I'll see y'all tomorrow.'"

Her passing was felt even by supposedly hardened veterans like tow truck drivers. Robert Jefferson and a co-worker hauled off the vehicles. "And he cried but I walked off and I started praying for the family and for the lady," Jefferson said adding, "I've been thinking about it all morning, and sure, I'm going to be thinking about it all night. Because you don't like coming up on scenes like that."

But Jefferson's pain was not over. Within minutes he was called a second traffic fatality just a mile from the first. A man somehow drove his car inside a guard rail and stacked it up against a TxDOT message board sign. He's in the hospital... his passenger died. In both cases a narrow shoulder played a part. Safety experts tell us if your car becomes disabled try to nurse it to an exit. If it won't go that far, says Dallas Sheriff's Captain Rowe, stay in it, seat belt on. "Stay in your vehicle, wait for emergency people to get there. Call 911. Wait for the fire department or sheriff's department or police department to get there and help you."

Captain Rowe adds it will be Monday before his agency decides whether charges will be brought in either of the crash fatalities.

TXDOT and the Texas Department of Public Safety have similar recommendations for stranded motorists:

Click here for DPS's "Stranded Motorists Hotline"

Click here for Courtesy Patrol, which is a program created through a partnership with TxDOT and the Dallas County Sheriff.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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