High school student, his mother killed in crash near Spicewood


High school student, his mother killed in crash

The two people who died in the car crash on Texas 71 near Spicewood early Monday have been identified as Santiago Vega, a 17-year-old Lake Travis High School senior, and his mother, Cynthia Vega, said Lake Travis school district officials.

Austin-Travis County EMS crews were called out to the wreck on the highway near Fall Creek Road just southeast of Spicewood around 8:20 a.m.

Two other people were injured in the two-vehicle crash, but officials have not released their names.

Lake Travis High School Principal Gordon Butler sent a letter to parents Monday informing them of the fatal crash.

“Assisting students is our main concern during this difficult time,” Butler said. “In order to help them cope with this horrific incident, we have arranged for our district counselors to be on the LTHS campus during the week, as needed.”

— American-Statesman staff


Police ID woman, infant killed in crash

Police have released the names and ages of a woman and a baby who died in a crash on the U.S. 290 service road in Northeast Austin on Nov. 22.

Kendra Deanne Jayne Gomez, 29, and 1-year-old Serenity Fay Prophit died at the scene, Austin police said.

An 18-wheeler was heading east on the U.S. 290 service road when it slowed down for a red light at the intersection of Texas 130, police said. Gomez hit the back of the trailer.

Police got the call at 7:27 p.m.

This case is still being investigated. Anyone with information is asked to call the Austin police Vehicular Homicide Unit at 512-974-5789.

— Katie Hall, American-Statesman


Justice of the Peace helps catch impaired driver

Williamson County Justice of the Peace Bill Gravell helped authorities catch a man accused of drunk driving after the man almost sideswiped the judge on Thanksgiving Day, according to an arrest affidavit.

Michael Tyrell Morgan, 19, of Temple, was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony, and driving while intoxicated.

Gravell said Monday that he was returning from Thanksgiving dinner with his family in Round Rock when Morgan almost sideswiped him around 5 p.m. on Interstate 35 North near FM 1431.

“At first I thought he was just a distracted driver but then I saw him weaving back and forth in front of me and almost hitting a black BMW,” Gravell said.

Gravell said he got the man’s license plate number and called 911. He then kept following Morgan north on I-35 until Morgan entered Bell County, Gravell said. But Morgan then turned around and drove back into Williamson County, stopping at a Shell gas station off the interstate in Jarrell.

Williamson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Morgan at the gas station. Morgan told the deputies there was a bottle of alcohol in his car, the affidavit said. Morgan told deputies he may have taken Xanax “yesterday or today but could not remember,” according to the affidavit.

Morgan was being held Monday in the Williamson County jail with bail set at $15,000.

— Claire Osborn, American-Statesman


Student accused of trying to burn bathroom

A female student at Vista Ridge High School in Cedar Park is accused of trying to set fire to a school bathroom, according to an arrest affidavit.

Briana Wallick, 17, is charged with arson, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail.

A teacher told the assistant principal about 2:40 p.m. Nov. 4 that Wallick “had attempted to light the bathroom on fire,” the affidavit said.

It said the assistant principal went into the girl’s bathroom and saw burnt toilet paper that was wedged into the toilet paper dispenser.

“The wedged toilet paper looked like it was intentionally placed to light the rest of the toilet paper on fire to cause maximum destruction,” the affidavit said. The dispenser was damaged while it was on fire, according to the affidavit.

It said Wallick told the teacher who reported the incident that she had a lighter and “she was trying to (light) the end and the whole thing exploded.”

It said police were notified about the incident Nov. 9.

Wallick was being held Monday in the Williamson County Jail with bail set at $5,000 for the arson charge. Her bail for those two charges is set at $1,000.

— Claire Osborn, American-Statesman


EMS: 52 sickened with K2 since Friday

Emergency responders took 17 people to area hospitals with medical issues related to K2 usage between 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said.

That makes a weekend total of at least 52 hospitalizations since Friday afternoon linked to K2, a synthetic drug that mimics the effects of marijuana.

EMS Capt. Darren Noak said spikes of illness related to the drug happen periodically, but the high numbers early in the weekend — including 12 in just two hours — were unusual.

A similar uptick occurred in August, when medics treated 52 people in 24 hours with K2-related sickness.

Overall, emergency responders have seen an average of three or four K2 cases a day this year, down from an average of six a day during the same months in 2015, he said.

Most of the calls came from the downtown area, near Sixth, Seventh and Eighth streets.

— Elizabeth Findell, American-Statesman

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

AIRPORT ALERT: More than 70 flights canceled at Austin-Bergstrom amid winter weather
AIRPORT ALERT: More than 70 flights canceled at Austin-Bergstrom amid winter weather

10 a.m. UPDATE: As falling temperatures and continued precipitation Tuesday morning created ideal condition for ice accumulation in Central Texas, dozens of flights arriving or departing from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport had been canceled.  AIRPORT CANCELLATIONS: See all canceled or delayed flights at ABIA Across the state, dangerously...
Gov. Abbott unveils property tax plan with a 2.5 percent revenue cap
Gov. Abbott unveils property tax plan with a 2.5 percent revenue cap

Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled a property tax reform plan Tuesday that would cap revenue increases at 2.5 percent a year. It promises to be the centerpiece of his re-election campaign and, if he wins a second term, his top priority in the next session of the Legislature. “With the skyrocketing rise in property taxes, more and more Texans face the...
Austin area students get day off, but they will have to make it up
Austin area students get day off, but they will have to make it up

Austin area students collectively rejoiced when districts announced Monday that there would be no school today because of bad weather. But many will have to make it up this spring. Most Central Texas districts build into their calendars two inclement weather days and officials will decide in coming days which they’ll choose as their first make...
TxDOT pre-treated highways here, now focusing on bridges
TxDOT pre-treated highways here, now focusing on bridges

Crews from the Texas Department of Transportation’s Austin district have been attacking ice on the roads through the night with brine and now magnesium chloride, a spokeswoman said Tuesday morning. “They have retreated the roadways three times overnight,” said Diann Hodges, who speaks for the 11-county Austin district. “Now...
Lack of sunlight may cause winter weight gain, research suggests
Lack of sunlight may cause winter weight gain, research suggests

We often blame our added winter pounds on the holidays. All the gatherings of family and friends combined with good food, often take the toll on our waistlines. But if you're one of the many who laments adding a few pounds in December, it may not actually be entirely due to changes in your diet. In fact, new research suggests that a lack of sunlight...
More Stories