Crash survivor is great-grandchild of radio’s Bill Mack


8-month-old girl is recovering after crash killed family

Only her father remains, a grandson of the all-night radio host

For years, Mack consoled grieving listeners; now, they return the love

Bill Mack with great-granddaughter Keira Adkison. Bill Mack Courtesy photo

BY BUD KENNEDY - Fort Worth Star Telegram

For 42 years, radio host Bill Mack comforted sorrowful listeners and dedicated songs of faith in the lonely world of the all-night trucking show.

Now, he and his family are grieving the loss of his own great-granddaughter’s family in a deadly crash with a broken-down armored truck.

Keira Adkison, 8 months, was the only survivor of a crash Thursday.Adkison family via WFAA-TV Courtesy photo

At 84, the “Midnight Cowboy” is now mostly a Facebook cowboy. His post Friday night stunned fans worldwide:

“You may have taken note of the many news reports mentioning a tragic accident that occurred Thursday … The baby, 8-month-old Keira, is our great-granddaughter.”


Former WBAP/820 AM and SiriusXM host Bill Mack

Keira Adkison’s mother and her parents were killed instantly. The baby survived in her rear-facing car seat, and is hospitalized in Dallas with head injuries. She has only her father left: Nick Adkison of Midlothian, grandson of Mack’s first wife, Jackie.

Mack and his wife, Cindy, had missed the phone calls and heard late Thursday. A caller told him how Carolyn Adkison, 34, died along with Carolyn Lewis, 67, and Thomas Lewis, 69, of Oak Point in Denton County, but “the baby is alive.”

“In all my life, I’ve never had anything so tough on us all,” Mack said Saturday by phone.

“Little Keira is just starting out in life, and now she’s starting without her mother and those grandparents. … And the people in the truck, they’re OK. But I think of all the truckers who would call and tell me how worried they were about something happening on the road.”

The armored truck was stalled in a painted-off pavement area between the Bush Turnpike southbound lanes and an exit to eastbound Interstate 20, a Department of Public Safety spokesman said. Thomas Lewis inexplicably veered into the truck, Mack said.


The national audience of Mack’s former SiriusXM radio show on Willie’s Place rallied quickly to his side.

“You don’t realize how people can respond all over the country,” he said.

“We’ve heard from people we haven’t heard from in years, people from my hometown [Shamrock], my old producer from New York. … This is when you really understand what it means to have so many people who care.”

He remembered consoling callers during his all-night show days on WBAP/820 AM. There was the frightened mother and daughter who only survived a crash into a snowbank because the girl’s doll flew out a window onto a road, attracting a rescuer.

And there was a trucker named Frank who called often. A trooper working a fatal truck wreck one night heard Mack’s show blaring from the radio and called in to report Frank’s death.

“You hear so many stories … all I can say is, lay on the love for your kids,” Mack said.

“There are times I’ve failed to do that like I should have. Take the time to be with them. Take them to a ballgame. The way they know they’re really loved is when you take the time.”

You never know when it’s time.

Bud Kennedy: His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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