One Teen Killed, Three Injured in Rollover Accident on SH 86 near Tulia, 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, roughly four miles outside Tulia. Preliminary investigation suggests a Chrysler vehicle 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. One of them, a 15-year-old boy, died a short time later at an area hospital. Three other passengers including 19-year-old Zaida Alvarez and two 16-year-old males were treated for serious injuries at the same hospital.
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.
The investigation continues. 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 the damage.
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 about where it came from to answer. 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?" I hope authorities are working hard to answer that.