Crash claims man's life, injures daughter

12/23/09 A 56-year-old man who Texas Department of Public Safety officials said died following a two-vehicle accident on State Highway 349 was remembered Tuesday by those who knew him as a devoted family man.

Midlander Mark Thomas Owen, 56, was pronounced dead at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa around 1 a.m. Tuesday, DPS officials said.

He died as a result of injuries sustained during an accident that occurred just before 7:30 p.m. Monday on Highway 349 north of Midland in Martin County.

Jordie Spurlock of Ruston, La., who was driving the other vehicle, was taken to Midland Memorial Hospital with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries, officials said.

Owen was traveling south on Highway 349 in a 2006 Toyota when Spurlock, who was traveling north on Highway 349 in a 2002 Jeep, drifted into the southbound lane and struck Owen head-on, DPS officials said.

Owen's vehicle came to rest facing north in the southbound lane and sitting partially in the ditch. Spurlock's vehicle came to rest on its right side facing south in the ditch, officials said.

Both were immediately transported, Spurlock by ambulance to Midland Memorial Hospital and Owen by helicopter to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa where he later died.

Owen's daughter, 20-year-old Aurora Owen, was riding in the car at the time of the accident and also was transported to Midland Memorial Hospital where she was treated for a broken arm and released, DPS officials said.

Spurlock was listed in stable condition Tuesday afternoon, according to MMH officials. Neither speed nor alcohol were listed on the accident report as contributing factors.

Debbie Strauss, whose kids swam with Aurora Owen and her twin brother Cash, said Owen was a "really good guy and he really took care of those kids."

"He was definitely dedicated," Strauss said. "… What a tragedy. They (Mark and his wife Jami) lived for those kids."

Brad Swendig, executive director of City of Midland Aquatics, has known the Owens since their kids were 8 or 9. "He was just a family guy," Swendig said. "His wife and kids were all. He did everything with his kids. He was involved in their lives. He was the all-American father. He was just an incredible guy."

Owen was a geologist for Griffin Petroleum Company.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 28 at Stonegate Fellowship with the Rev. Patrick Payton officiating. Arrangements are by Nalley-Pickle & Welch

Owen's death follows the deaths of two Midland teens, Bailey Morgan Poyner, 18, and Quinten Jay Wolfe, 16, who were killed when their vehicles were involved in a head-on collision around 10 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Tarleton Street and Cuthbert Avenue.

Wolfe's passenger, 16-year-old Saul Dunn was transported to Midland Memorial Hospital Friday following the incident and has since been treated and released, officials said.

Thurber, Kathleen. "Crash claims man's life, injures daughter." Midland Reporter-Telegram, December 23, 2009.