DA: Third manslaughter charge to be filed Tuesday in fatal Kilgore crash
POSTED: Monday, July 14, 2014 - 1:13pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 2:37pm
Kilgore, Texas (KETK) — Two young children and their mother were killed in a Kilgore crash on Loop 259 near Dudley Road. Authorities said a woman was driving in the wrong direction, possibly drunk.
According to the Rusk County District Attorney's Office, on Tuesday, a third manslaughter charge will be brought against Shelby Taylor, 22, of Henderson, whom was behind the wheel during the fatal crash.
Kilgore police stated they were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash at 1 a.m. Thursday after receiving a 911 call. Responding officers arrived and found two children, a five-year-old boy named Rudra Patel, and a 12-year-old girl named Trisha Patel, deceased and their mother, Heena Patel, 43, unconscious. The father, Ketanbhai Patel, 42, who was driving, was moving about, but was in a daze. The family was from Caldwell, Texas.
The parents were taken to a local hospital. Heena died after succumbing to her injures on Friday. Kentanbhai was treated and released.
After determining the crash was outside city limits, the Department of Public Safety took control of the crash investigation.
According to DPS, an oil field truck, driven by Shelby, was headed southbound in the northbound lane of 259 near the Gregg and Rusk County when it collided with a van. Trooper Jean Dark stated Kentanbhai attempted to avoid the crash, but he was not able to dodge the truck in time. Shelby also had a passenger in the truck with her who has been identified as Sarah Furlong, 21.
Preliminary investigations revealed the children and mother were possibly not wearing seat belts and sleeping in the back of the van. KPD stated the family was from Central Texas traveling north.
Both children were taken to Rader Funeral Home in Kilgore. Next of kin has been notified of the accident.
Troopers have since issued a DWI search warrant for Shelby's blood, who was also taken to a local hospital, along with Sarah. They have since been treated and released.
Shelby was charged Thursday evening with two counts of intoxication manslaughter. She was booked into the Rusk County Jail on a bond of $501,000. She was also facing a revocation charge stemming from a 2013 DWI in which she was out on bond for multiples charges, but Judge Chad Dean ruled against the revocation of bond. She can now be released if bond is posted.
According to Rusk County Jail records, this is not Shelby's first run-in with officials having been arrested previously for the following:
Assault causing bodily injury/family violence (February 13, 2010)
Assault causing bodily injury (October 13, 2010)
Burglary of a building (January 14, 2011)
- Driving while intoxicated (October 12, 2013)
Rusk County Sheriff Jeff Price said Taylor could face an additional charge of intoxicated manslaughter, due to the mother dying Friday.
"Yes, there will probably be a third charge of intoxication manslaughter being filed."
Sheriff Price said Taylor could face up to life in prison.
Sheriff Price wants to use this tragedy to remind residents how many lives can change in an instant from impaired driving.
" [You always think] it's always the other guy, I'm fine..but that's one thing alcohol and drugs do to you..they cloud your judgement...so you may think you're fine..when in actuality..you're not..the risk is not worth it..not only to you..but to the health and well-being of anyone else on the highways."
The crash remains under investigation.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Early Friday evening, Rusk County Sheriff's Office said Heena Patel, the mother involved in Thursday's wreck, had passed away. On Saturday, the hospital she was taken to released a statement stating she had not passed, but was still in critical condition. On Monday, July 14, 2014, the hospital retracted their statement issued Saturday and confirmed the mother indeed passed away Friday.