- A 14-year-old Houston, Texas boy has been charged with murder after a prank caused a deadly car crash.
- The teen and two of his friends took his father’s SUV out for a joyride on New Year’s Day and started egging cars, according to police.
- They say a man started chasing after them, brandishing a gun, so they ran a red light and T-boned a Ford F-150 truck driven by 45-year-old Silvia Zavala, police said.
- Zavala, a mother of two, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A Houston, Texas teen has been charged with murder after an apparent joyride prank caused a deadly car crash on New Year’s Day.
The unnamed teen and two of his friends took his father’s SUV out for a ride on Tuesday without permission, to egg cars out on the road, according to police.
The prank apparently upset the driver of a 1970s Lincoln Continental, who they say started to pursue them, allegedly brandishing a gun, police said.
This caused them to run a red light at about 60 miles per hour, T-boning the Ford F-150 being driven by 45-year-old Silvia Zavala, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Zavala, a mother of two, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The teen driver sustained a broken ankle and one of his other friends was hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries, according to police and “Good Morning America“. The third passenger in the vehicle was not seriously injured and told police his account of the deadly crash, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The driver has since been booked into a juvenile detention center. It’s unclear if he will be charged as a minor or an adult. If he is charged as an adult, his name will likely be released.
Initially, the driver of the Lincoln fled the scene. But he has since been identified and is cooperating with police, according to “Good Morning America.” Harris County officials had previously asked for the public’s help in identifying that driver.
Sean Teare, chief of the Harris County DA’s Office of Vehicular Crimes Unit, told KPRC that the pursuing driver could face charges for failing to stop and render aid resulting in death, which is a second-degree felony. Teare also said that so far, they have found no evidence that the driver was brandishing a weapon.
Neighbours of the teen driver told Channel 2 Investigates that they had seen him take the SUV out before while his parents weren’t home. One mother told the station that she once had to warn him to slow down because kids were riding bikes in the neighbourhood.
The legal age to drive unsupervised without an adult is 16 in Texas, according to Reuters.
Victim was a ‘happy’ and ‘independent’ mother of 2
The victim’s 20-year-old daughter, Jessica Gaspar, told KTRK that her mother was visiting family in the area and was out shopping when she was killed.
“She was about to go back. She was about to come home and get her stuff and say bye and she was about to leave. She couldn’t say bye,” Gaspar said.
Gaspar told KPRC that her mother was a “happy” and “independent” single mother who raised her and her 22-year-old brother alone.
“She always taught me to stay strong and stay positive,” Gaspar recalled.
Gaspar added that she feels bad for the teen driver but “he took my mother’s life and he has to pay for what he did.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for Zavala’s funeral.