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Car Crash Near Marfa Leaves One Dead, Another Seriously Injured

A serious car crash near Marfa early Tuesday morning left two injured, one hospitalized, and one dead.

According to Department of Public Safety officials,  in the early hours of Tuesday, a white Dodge Caravan driven by Eric Keith Payne, a 42-year-old Midland man, hit a Nissan Xterra on U.S. 67, about 8 miles from Marfa.

Alberto Halpern, the driver of the Xterra suffered serious head, spinal and leg injuries and was taken to Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine before being flown to University Medical Center of El Paso.

In an update, family members say Halpern was placed into a medically induced coma to help stabilize his condition. He has multiple fractures, including a fracture of the spine, but there is no sign of paralysis. The family added Halpern may have permanent damage to one eye. He is currently in critical but stable condition.

Alexandra Annello -- who was recently elected as an El Paso City rep.  -- and another passenger in Halpern's vehicle sustained minor injuries and were released from Big Bend Regional Medical Center earlier.

According to DPS, 42-year-old Eric Keith Payne was driving the other vehicle that collided with Halpern.

Payne was not wearing a seatbelt and died on the scene.

Halpern and Annello were married this past Saturday, the same day Annello beat incumbent El Paso city District 2 representative Tim Tolbert in a runoff election.

El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar told the El Paso Times she was saddened by the news.

"They had both worked so hard on her race and they were doubly celebrating: their new marriage and her victory. I spoke to her briefly on Sunday and she was exhausted from running a campaign and planning a wedding," Escobar said.

Escobar added: "She sounded really happy. It breaks my heart to know what they're going through. We need to be praying for them."
Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director.