One Teen Killed, Three Injured in Rollover Accident on SH 86 in Swisher County, TX
Tulia, TX — January 8, 2023, a 15-year-old died and three teenagers were injured in a single-vehicle rollover crash on State Highway 86 in Swisher County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 4:00 a.m. on Texas 86 near mile marker 304, roughly four miles outside Tulia. Preliminary investigation suggests a Chrysler 300 sedan was westbound on the highway when its driver lost control for unconfirmed reasons. The car veered into the north ditch and hit a culvert, then briefly went airborne. It overturned on landing and rolled end-over-end before coming to rest upright in a field.
Two of the car's passengers were ejected in the rollover. All four of its occupants were transported to an area hospital where a 15-year-old boy died a short time later. 19-year-old passenger Zaida Alvarez and the car's 16-year-old driver and passenger were treated for serious injuries.
Investigators allege that none of the car's occupants were wearing seat belts. They added that speed and impairment are currently being investigated as possible factors in the crash.
No further information is currently available.
Police seem to have some theories about how this accident occurred, but if I've learned anything over the years it's that first impressions and final conclusions aren't always the same. That's even truer for young drivers, who are rarely given the benefit of the doubt when they get in accidents. More than a few of them have been unfairly accused of dangerous behavior only for further efforts to show something beyond their control was really responsible for their crashes.
Maybe law enforcement found clear signs of the factors they suspected; it's not for me to say whether the car was going fast or anyone was buckled up. It's also not for me to speculate about their suggestion that alcohol could have been involved, though if that's proven there may be urgent questions to answer about how a car full of underage people got it. I just know that with a young life cut short and three others potentially changed forever, there are probably many people asking "How did this happen?" just as I am. I hope authorities are working hard to answer that.