Alberto ‘Beto’ Halpern, husband of newly elected District 2 Representative Alexsandra Annello is in critical condition after a crash near Marfa early Tuesday morning.

The crash happened at 12:10 a.m. on U.S. 67 about 8 miles east of Marfa near the Marfa Lights Obsercation area, when according to a DPS press release, Eric Payne, 42, of Midland was driving a 2002 Dodge Caravan in the wrong way of traffic when he hit Halpern’s 2012 Nissan XTerra head-on.

Payne was pronounced dead on the scene. Halpern sustained serious life-threatening injuries and is listed in critical condition. Annello, along with Courtney Repoza, 28 of Lynn, MA sustained minor injuries in the crash and were taken to a local hospital and later released.  Derrick Myer, 31, of Marfa was also a passenger in Halpern’s XTerra, but was not injured.

All occupants in Halpern’s XTerra were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Halpern, who is County Commissioner David Stout’s Chief of Staff, just married Annello on Saturday in Marfa – the same day that Annello won the run-off against incumbent Jim Tolbert for the City Council District 2 position.

 It’s tough, it’s tough to see one of your friends like that. He has been my most trusted advisor, my most trusted colleague, we’ve become very good friends over the years,” said Stout after visiting Halpern at UMC Tuesday afternoon.

According to Stout, Halpern has a broken neck, two broken legs, broken face bones, a perforated lung, a lacerated spleen, and remains unconscious.

Stout says Halpern, Annello and two of Annello’s cousins, were driving to see the Marfa Lights.

Halpern is a native of Marfa, where he began his career as a journalist for the Big Bend Sentinel, the newspaper his parents Robert and Rosario Halpern own. Annello is a Boston native who moved to El Paso to attend UTEP.  

The couple were just married on Saturday at the Indian Lodge State Park in Fort Davis.