By Kathi Bliss
The Texas Department of Public Safety continues to investigate a Jan. 11 crash that killed a Lockhart High School senior and her boyfriend, a 2014 LHS graduate.
Lauren Garcia, 18, was described by friends and family as a “bubbly, vivacious” teen with a “smile that could light up the room.”
She was riding in a Ford Ranger on FM 672 last Wednesday evening with her high school sweetheart, who she said on social media was her fiancé, Isaac Garcia, 21, when another vehicle crossed into their lane of traffic, striking them head-on and killing both at the scene.
The initial call rang out at 8:29 p.m., and crews from the Lockhart Fire Department, Lockhart-Caldwell County EMS and Chisholm Trail Fire Rescue responded to the incident, near the intersection of FM 672 and Dry Creek Road.
There, crews found the Ranger, driven by Isaac Garcia, involved in a head-on crash with a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, thought to be driven by Santiago Guadarrama Avila, 19, a Dale resident also thought to be a former LHS student. Avila was transported from the scene with serious injuries, as was his passenger, 18-year-old Fernando Adame, of Lockhart.
Though reports were unconfirmed by DPS at press time, witnesses with knowledge of the incident reported that Avila may have been racing with a third vehicle that was not involved in the crash. During the funeral service for the couple, family members alleged that the other drivers involved may have been drinking, but DPS was unable to confirm those reports.
The deaths and injuries of the youth hit the Lockhart High School community hard, and administrators began the work immediately of providing counseling services to classmates and friends who felt the acute sting of loss on Thursday morning.
“Teens process loss in many different ways,” Superintendent Susan K. Bohn wrote in a letter to parents released Thursday. “They may want to be with their friends. They may feel they want to do something or talk to someone. Most importantly, be ready to listen. Loss of a friend or classmate will take weeks to process. Contact your child’s school counselor if you have ongoing concerns or need suggestions.”
Services for Lauren and Isaac were held on Monday afternoon, and the pair were buried side-by-side in the Lockhart Municipal Cemetery, as their family said they would have wanted.
Information on the medical conditions of Avila and Adame was not available at press time.
District Attorney Fred Weber did not immediately return correspondence requesting information as to whether criminal charges could be connected with the crash after the investigation is concluded. However, a position of silence is not uncommon, prior to the conclusion into such an investigation.
Anyone with information regarding the crash is encourage to contact local law enforcement, or the local DPS office at (512) 398-4333.