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Specialist killed while trying to retrieve phone in highway

A Fort Hood-based soldier was killed last Wednesday while trying to cross a busy Texas highway and retrieve his cell phone.

Spc. Kayleb Richardlee Harp, 24, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was a member of the 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Harp had intended to spend Thanksgiving with a fellow soldier's family in the Austin area, according to Gary Miller, chief of police of Bee Cave, Texas.

The two soldiers stopped at a grocery store in Bee Cave on Wednesday evening, Miller said. As they left the store and pulled onto Highway 71, Harp realized he had left his cell phone on the trunk of his friend's car. The friend pulled to the side of the highway and they located the phone in the roadway — a busy route that sees 45,000 cars a day.

Harp retrieved the phone in the center turn lane, but apparently failed to recheck for oncoming traffic, Miller said. Harp was struck by a Ford F-150. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman driving the truck was not charged. There are no indications she was speeding or driving impaired, Miller said. The speed limit on the highway is 50 mph. Visibility was a factor, Miller said. The accident happened after dark, around 6:30 p.m., he said.

"It's very tragic," Miller said. "[His parents] were probably always thinking he would be in harm's way, but not die of a motor vehicle accident."

Harp began his active duty service in June 2012 as a combat medic. Harp's awards and decorations include: the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and the Driver and Mechanic Badge.

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