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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

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