By Kathi Bliss
Traffic on Highway 183 was shut down for hours on Saturday morning as authorities investigated a fatal accident that claimed the life of one man and two children.
The initial call came in at around 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, with reports that a FedEx van and a GMC Jimmy had been involved in a horrific crash at the corner of FM 1185 and Highway 183, north of Lockhart. By morning’s end, a father and his two sons were declared dead, while his third child, a daughter, was fighting for her life.
According to DPS Trooper Eli Badillo, the lead officer on the scene, Joe Anthony Salas-Castro, 29, was driving a maroon GMC Jimmy northbound on Highway 183 with his three children, Joe Anthony Salas, 9, Jayden Joshua Salas, 4, and Jazalynn Nicole Salas, 2, when his vehicle was struck on the driver’s side by a FedEx van driven by Enrique Alvarez, 35.
Alvarez, it appears, failed to yield the right-of-way at the intersection after passing under SH130, and “t-boned” Salas-Castro’s vehicle, causing it to roll several times.
Jayden, 4, was in the rear passenger’s seat, and was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled. Witnesses at the scene, attempting to help the family, removed Jazalynn, who was secured in a car seat in the rear of the vehicle.
Salas-Castro and Joe Anthony were both in the front seat of the vehicle. They, along with Jayden, succumbed to their injuries at the scene.
None of the three were wearing seat belts, Badillo said.
Jazalynn was transported to Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin in critical condition, but by Saturday evening, nurses reported that her condition had stabilized, and she was expected to recover from her injuries.
Alvarez, whose vehicle also rolled in the collision, was also transported from the scene to Brackenridge Hospital via emergency transport services. His injuries, Badillo said, were not life threatening.
Although Badillo said that his report would note the failure to yield right-of-way in the incident, he declined to comment as to whether other charges against Alvarez would be forthcoming, as the crash is still under investigation.
Joe Anthony was a fourth grader at Clear Fork Elementary, and Jayden was in Pre-K at Carver Kindergarten.
Interim Superintendent Janie Wright released a statement on behalf of the Lockhart Independent School District on Tuesday morning regarding the accident, and the loss of two students.
“Please rest assured that administration has been and continues to provide the necessary support to the students and staff of the affected campuses,” she said. “As always, we stand ready to assist our students, families, and staff as we all endeavor to cope with this loss.”
Badillo said his initial findings did not indicate speed was a factor in the severity of the crash.
The community has opened a donation fund to help support Frances Lopez, Salas-Castro’s partner and the mother of the three children. To donate to the fund, visit http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/funeral-fund/128092.