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I've spent a lot of time in East Texas in my life, so I've heard pretty much all of the stories and legends. Some, like bigfoot making his winter home in the woods just outside of Longview or that the hamburger was invented in Athens, are long shots at best. Others are 100% true, like the deadly legend of "Bloody 31."

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"Bloody 31," Doesn't Refer to All of Highway 31, Just One Particular Stretch

"Bloody 31" or "Death Valley" is the nickname given to the stretch of Highway 31 that runs between Kilgore and Tyler. Unfortunately, that nickname is deadly accurate.  Back when Tyler was totally dry, residents had to head for the county line to purchase their hooch.

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Booze is One of the Main Contributors to the Accidents on "Bloody 31"

One of the closest places to do it was where Rusk and Smith county meet.  In that spot, several bars, strip clubs, and liquor stores appeared out of thin air to meet the need of thirsty Tylerites.  Lots and lots of traffic fatalities have resulted from impaired driving, but that's not the only danger this road presents.

Friday Night Drags at Texas Motor Speedway
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway

Drunk Driving Isn't the Only Deadly Threat on "Bloody 31"

Because 31 is a relatively straight road that goes on for miles outside of town, it is also a favorite for street racers and speed demons looking to push their vehicles to the limit.  What 31 lacks in curves it makes up for hills.  Most notably is the hill on which the county line lays on top of.  Once a reckless driver tops that hill at top speed, they have zero time to react to a stopped or turning car.  This has resulted in many fatal accidents.

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Year After Year, "Bloody 31" is One of the Deadliest Roads in Texas

If you Google 'Bloody 31', your search results will fill stories of mayhem & destruction. New stories, old stories, people complaining...you name, it's all there. However, if there's a silver lining, as road work & safety improvements are made, fatalities seem to be dropping. So, maybe if we're lucky, 'Bloody 31' will become one of those urban myths that nobody will believe in a few decades.

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Can You Help Solve Any of These 24 East Texas Cold Cases?

Crime is a terrible thing. Luckily, we've got a dedicated group of police officers and investigators that work around to the clock to bring those responsible for breaking the law to justice. Unfortunately, not every case is closed. Authorities in East Texas are hoping that someone might have a key piece of information that could help them crack these 24 cold cases wide open. If you know anything, please reach out to the Tyler Police Department at 903-531-1000, or Tyler Smith County Crime-Stoppers at 903-597-2833.

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Losing someone is hard, but when they go missing without a trace - it's even harder. The family and friends of these 44 people are desperate for any information that could bring their loved ones home or at least give them some closure. If you have any information at all that could lead authorities to their whereabouts, please contact the Missing Persons Clearinghouse by calling (800) 346-3243

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