14-Year-Old Texas Driver Charged With Murder After He Caused Deadly Crash

January 2, 2019 Updated: January 2, 2019

A 14-year-old teenager who was behind the wheel of a vehicle in Texas and ultimately caused a deadly crash after a series of events on Jan. 1, has been charged with murder.

The incident started when the teen driver and his two passengers, both teenagers, began chucking eggs at other cars, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Another driver started to chase the vehicle the teen was driving, and the teenager ran a red light at a high rate of speed, slamming into a truck going through the intersection.

The woman driving the truck died. She was identified as Silvia Zavala, a Hispanic female who was 45 years old.

The deadly crash took place along Aldine Mail Route Road in north Houston. A Harris County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman told KPRC that the teenager was driving at least 60 mph when he t-boned Zavala’s truck.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez shared a picture of Zavala’s vehicle prior to her being publicly identified, saying: “The deceased female was totally innocent; seems she had just gone shopping based on some debris strewn at scene.”

Because his actions led to Zavala dying, the 14-year-old was charged with murder on Wednesday, the sheriff said.

The teen, who has not been identified as of yet, was booked into the county’s juvenile detention center.

The teen sustained a broken ankle in the crash, Gonzalez said.

“The driver of the vehicle that was chasing him has been identified and efforts are being made to interview him,” the sheriff added.

The sheriff said that the vehicle that was chasing the teen was described as an older model gold/yellow Lincoln with a white top and elbow rims.

The driver of that vehicle flashed a gun at the teens, deputies told KTRK. The driver was described as a Hispanic male in his late 20s with a tattoo on his left forearm and elbow.

Officials planned to interview the teen’s parents to see how he got access to the vehicle.

A 14-year-old classmate and neighbor of the teen told KPRC that she was shocked that the boy even attempted to drive his father’s vehicle. “Whenever I saw this, I was like wow! I was like, oh my God, he is so young, why did he even drive that car like he is,” the teenage girl said.

Fatal Car Crash Statistics

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, analyzing data from the Department of Transportation, there were 37,461 deaths from car accidents in 2016, the last year full data is available for.

The deaths occurred across 34,439 fatal motor vehicle accidents. The number means 11.6 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.16 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, although those numbers can vary widely across states.

In Texas, which has a population of approximately 27.8 million, there were 3,407 fatal crashes and 3,776 deaths that year, which equaled 13.6 deaths per 100,000 population or 1.43 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Those numbers were towards the middle; the highest deaths per 100,000 population was in Mississippi, which saw 23.1 such deaths, and the most deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was in South Carolina, which saw 1.88 such deaths.

The majority of fatal accidents are single-vehicle crashes, the institute noted.

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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