The driver fled the crash scene in the city of Kyle on foot, but was quickly tracked down by deputies, arrested, and charged.
He has been identified as 61-year-old Macario M. Hernandez, and faces two counts of accident causing death and three counts of accident causing serious bodily injury, according to the Kyle Police Department.
Hernandez drove his Dodge truck into a Honda sedan, killing two passengers who were later identified as 16-year-old Peyton Weissman and her 18-year-old sister Hayden Weissman.
The three other passengers in the car have not been named by officials. They were taken to an area hospital, according to the police.
Police say 61-year-old Macario Hernandez crashed his truck into a Honda sedan the sisters were riding in. He allegedly ran away but was quickly caught.
“Words can’t describe … we lost two little girls that night,” said Kyle Police Lt. Andre Marmolejo, reported Fox News. “A family in shambles and an individual in custody whose life is never going to be the same.”
Both sisters were wearing seatbelts at the time, according to police.
Public records show Hernandez has two previous convictions for driving while intoxicated, reported Fox.
Both girls were students at Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas.
rest easy sweet hayden and payton. you guys were truly a light in this world. i’m so blessed to have met you girls and I don’t understand how something so terrible could happen to such pure, beautiful people. don’t ever take life for granted, it’s too short. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/KtGB8LoIIH
— Allie Butler (@alliebutlerr) April 29, 2019
According to WFAA, a statement from the local school board said: “The Frisco ISD community is heartbroken to learn of the sudden passing of two of our students. Crisis counselors will be on campus this week for any students or staff who need support during this difficult time.”
A friend wrote on social media: “Rest easy sweet Hayden and Payton, you guys were truly a light in this world. I’m so blessed to have met you girls and I don’t understand how something so terrible could happen to such pure, beautiful people.”
Hit-and-Run on the Rise
Hit-and-run incidents have been on the rise over the last decade, according to statistics from the AAA, creeping up by an average of around 7 percent each year.
A report published last year noted that there have been an average of 682,000 hit-and-run crashes each year.
Most commonly, the victims are either pedestrians or bicyclists.
New Hampshire, Maine, and Minnesota have the lowest rates of fatal hit-and-run crashes and New Mexico, Louisiana, and Florida have the highest.
“Hit-and-run crashes in the United States are trending in the wrong direction,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our analysis shows that hit-and-run crashes are a growing traffic safety challenge and the AAA Foundation would like to work with all stakeholders to help curtail this problem.”
Over the past 10 years, nearly 20 percent of all pedestrian deaths were caused by hit-and-run crashes.
“While no one likes being involved in a crash, leaving the scene will significantly increase the penalties for drivers—whether they caused the crash or not,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA.
Every state has laws that make it illegal for a driver involved in a crash to flee the scene, with penalties varying depending on the type of crash. A person fleeing the scene can face large fines, lose their license or spend time in prison.