Three young siblings and friend on way to dance competition killed in car crash by 'distracted driver'
The driver of the other car and his passenger were unhurt in the accident with the former expected to face charges.
Three young Texas siblings and a teenage family friend were killed in a car crash as they made their way to their older sister's dance competition. The victims have been identified as 12-year-old Danielle Williams, 15-year-old Michael Williams, 17-year-old Tiffany Williams, and 19-year-old Peyton Mackenzie Irwin.
All four were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The driver of the car, the siblings' mother Pamela Mary Williams, 53, was rushed to the Dell Seton Medical Center in a critical condition following the crash and is now recovering from her injuries.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the five, from Huntsville, were heading to San Antonio on March 29, Friday night, to watch another family member perform with the Huntsville High School Grenadier Guard Drill Team at a national competition in their 2019 Toyota Corolla. They had reportedly stopped to make a left turn off Texas Highway 21 halfway between Bastrop and Paige when a 2004 Ford F-150 crashed into the back of their car at 58 mph just before 9 pm.
The collision was captured on the surveillance camera of a nearby gun store, with the owner revealing that the video showed the pickup slamming into the back of the victims' vehicle while they were waiting in the inside lane of a four-lane highway for the oncoming traffic to clear so they could take a left. He said their car's blinker was on and that the pickup had plenty of room to maneuver to another lane and avoid the crash.
The driver of the truck was identified as 18-year-old Juan Jose Hernandez. Neither he nor his passenger, 18-year-old Jacqueline Gaspar, were injured in the accident. The Texas Department of Public Safety said Hernandez did not apply the brakes until 0.6 seconds before the crash and suggested that he was possibly distracted by a cellphone while driving.
Speaking to KHOU, Jeremy Bowens, the siblings' older brother said he had to break it to his mom that three of her children had died. "It’s just really hard to find the words to console her," he said. "It’s still so early and we’re trying to deal with the shock of it. “I had to explain to her and tell her what happened and she’s still kind of in and out of it. But now that she’s becoming more coherent, it’s setting in more and it’s just really hard."
A GoFundMe page set up to raise funds to cover the costs of the victims' funeral and the medical bills of the mother has raised over $31,000 of its $50,000 goal within a day at the time of writing.
The Texas DPS said charges had not yet been filed in relation to the accident and that the case would be referred to a grand jury. The investigation is still ongoing.