Passenger relives crash that killed 12-year-old boy who drifted in front of them

LAKE BUCHANAN, Texas (KXAN) — A boy was killed after his dirt bike drifted in front of a car Tuesday night near Buchanan Dam.

The crash happened around 8:30 p.m. along Texas Highway 261 near Lake Breeze Drive, killing 12-year-old Marcus Mandell.

“The first thing I depicted was the bike in front of us,” said Michael Gardner. “Before I could even scream for (my dad) to slow down, we had already hit him.” Gardner was riding in the car his dad was driving and says his family is devastated over the boy’s death.

“I ran over to the side of him and, you know, he was bleeding,” Gardner said. “I just kind of stood there in shock. I didn’t know what to do.”

Firefighters across the street rushed to help Marcus, but there was nothing they could do. He died at the scene.

Neighbors say Marcus used to ride his motorbike often in an open yard next to the highway, but that this time he drifted off a little too far.

Candy Clements saw Marcus just before the accident.

“(He was) riding around on the bike, riding to the lake and riding back,” said Candy Clements. She saw Marcus just before the collision. “Then he just rode out of sight and then you could hear the crash.”

“He was a very nice young man, very pleasant,” said Sheryl Gunnoe. She knew him from all the times he stopped in for candy at the local store. “(He) always had a smile.”

Gardner says his dad is struggling and wants to do whatever he can to help Marcus’ family.

“I wish we would have left Burnet 10 seconds later,” he said. “Mostly it just seems like a bad dream now.”

Timothy Gardner will not be charged, but the investigation is ongoing, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Marcus was a sixth-grader at Burnet Middle School. The Burnet ISD superintendent said a safe room was set up for students to meet with counselors. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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