SAN ANTONIO — Roger Lewis started driving along Highway 46 to get home 14 years ago to avoid rush hour traffic. The father of three said the drive gives him the time to decompress after clocking out of work.
"It's a great route to go," he said.
Thursday afternoon was supposed to be another uneventful trip home. Instead, the normally untroubled commute evolved into an unbelievable scene.
"You could just see a red truck kinda coming toward us on our lane as we're going," Lewis said.
Texas DPS troopers said a 2014 Ford F-250 driven by Andrew Michael Pena sideswiped two vehicles. His vehicle hit a white Hyundai Accent head-on, according to troopers, killing the driver and passenger, Jason Joseph Cantu and Magdalena Heather Hernandez, respectively.
Lewis was driving right behind the 42-year-old Cantu and 21-year-old Hernandez, and slammed on his brakes to avoid a crash. Troopers said he hit the back of the Accent.
According to Lewis, his injuries were minor. The cloud of smoke from the airbags filled his vehicle. Trying to get out was tough, and when he did, he recalls, a swell of bystanders tried to access the crash and help those involved.
"Everyone's rushing trying to figure out how can I help," he said.
As Lewis tried to absorb the impact of the scene, he said emergency crews acted with precision. He paused to pray as he watched local people reaching out to help in a time of tragedy.
Lewis couldn't wait to get home to hug his wife and children. But he knew two people at the scene would never make it home again.
"My heart just goes out the victims and the families," he said.
DPS investigators said they have not determined if 20-year-old Pena, of Victoria, will face criminal charges. In fact, a spokesperson said the investigation could take weeks.
Lewis said he felt for Pena, too. The weight of what happened at the scene is a lot carry, he said.
Now a survivor of a scene where he could have lost his life, Lewis believes he'll still drive the same highway home. But the ride may never be same again.
"God put his hand on my car for some reason," Lewis said.