KILGORE, TX (07/10/2014) — Two young children were killed, and their parents hospitalized after an alleged drunk driver drove the wrong way on Loop 259 and caused a head-on accident late Wednesday night/ early Thursday morning.
Authorities say that 22-year-old Shelby Taylor was intoxicated and driving the wrong way on Loop 259 when she caused the fatal accident at around 1:00 a.m. According to reports, Taylor (of Henderson, TX) was driving an oil field truck southbound in the northbound lane of Loop 259. The driver of the second vehicle, 42-year-old Ketanbhai Patel, attempted to swerve away from the oncoming vehicle, but was unable to avoid the truck in time and collided near Dudley Road (near the Gregg County and Rusk County line).
Ryera Patel (a five-year-old boy) and Trish Patel (a 12-year-old girl) were killed in the collision. Both children were pronounced dead at the scene at 1:24 a.m. Their mother, Heema Patel (referred to in other reports as Heenda Patel or Heena Patel) was rendered unconscious and transferred to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview in critical condition. Ketanbhai Patel, the children’s father, was reportedly in a daze after the accident and was treated and released at a local hospital.
Taylor also had a passenger with her who has been identified as 21-year-old Sarah Furlong. Both Furlong and Taylor were taken to a local hospital where they were treated and released, but not before troopers obtained a DWI search warrant for Shelby’s blood. On Thursday evening, Shelby was arrested and charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter. She has been booked into the Rusk County Jail. According to KETK News, this is not Shelby’s first run in with the law. The station reports that Shelby was previously arrested for assault causing bodily injury/family violence in February of 2010, once again for assault causing bodily injury in October of 2010, once for burglary of a building in January 2011, and again in October of 2013 for driving while intoxicated.
The Patel family is from Caldwell, Texas, and were reportedly travelling north. Officials say that Thursday’s crash is the second fatal car accident in as many weeks on U.S. 259.