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From the KMIL News Room

March 16, 2005

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AUSTIN WOMAN KILLED IN HWY 79 WRECK

(MILANO)  A 21 year old Austin woman was killed Wednesday morning when the vehicle she was in rolled on Hwy 79 about a mile west of Milano at the curve near Natís Place.  Christie Johnston was a passenger in a 2004 Chevrolet Pickup driven by Joseph Gallahan, 28 also of Austin.  According to investigating Trooper Michael Nix, Gallahan lost control on the rain-slick road and rolled, ejecting Ms. Johnston, and pinning her underneath the vehicle.  Gallahan was headed east on US 79 when the pickup crossed into the westbound lane.  Gallahan overcorrected to the right and the vehicle went into a side skid into the eastbound ditch where it struck an embankment and rolled.  Ms. Johnston, who was seated in the middle, but not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected through a broken window and pinned beneath the pickup after it landed upright.  She was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Twila Harris of Rockdale.

Gallahan and the right front passenger, Dave Harrison, 25 of Austin, were wearing seat belts.  They were transported to a local hospital, treated and released.  The accident happened around 11 a.m.  Nix said the accident was weather-related. 

The three were en route to Milano from Austin to visit Gallahanís father. 

Both the Rockdale and Milano Fire Departments assisted at the scene. 

Ms. Johnston is Milam Countyís 3rd traffic fatality of the year.