Cedar Park family sues men accused of drag racing, causing fatal crash


Two men, 18 and 21, face second-degree felony drag-racing charge punishable by up to 20 years behind bars.

Crash also caused traumatic brain injury to mother, Zara Salman, who was driving the car.

A Cedar Park woman whose son and stepson were killed in what police say was a crash caused by two men drag racing is out of the hospital and home as she recovers from a traumatic brain injury.

The attorney for Salman Chaudhary and Zara Salman said Wednesday it is unclear how much she will improve from her injuries, which include memory loss.

The couple has filed a lawsuit in Williamson County state District Court against the two men, their parents and a woman who was a passenger in a pickup driven by one of the men.

Chaudhary is now caring for his wife while simultaneously grieving the loss of his sons, said attorney Adam Loewy, who represents the family.

“He woke up that day and had a beautiful wife that he loved, two children that he loved, and then later that day, both of his children were dead, and she has a brain injury,” Loewy said. “It is the absolute worst thing anyone would go through.”

The two men, 18-year-old Hayden Hammer and 21-year-old Blake Kirkpatrick, have been charged with drag racing and causing a death, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years behind bars.

Hammer remained in the Williamson County Jail on Wednesday. Kirkpatrick is out on bond.

Hammer, who was driving a Dodge Ram pickup, was racing a second truck, driven by Kirkpatrick, in the westbound lanes of West Whitestone Boulevard before crashing into the Nissan SUV driven by Salman that was turning left onto Walton Way at 3:45 p.m. Jan. 10, police said.

The two boys inside the SUV, 8-year-old Elijah Chaudhary and 1-year-old Daniel Chaudhary, died at the scene. Zara Salman is the mother of the 1-year-old and the stepmother of the 8-year-old.

The suit filed Wednesday claims that Kirkpatrick and Hammer were negligent and said what happened was “highly foreseeable.” It claims that Hammer’s passenger, Patricia Weaver, encouraged Hammer.

The suit also names Hammer’s parents, Todd and Stephanie Hammer, and Kirkpatrick’s mother, Vickie Johnson, as defendants, accusing them of “negligent entrustment.”

“We believe there needs to be accountability for what happened here,” Loewy said. “This family needs to be compensated for what happened — both for the tragic death of these children and the enormous medical bills that my client is facing.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Autonomous cars will be built, but will people get onboard with idea?
Autonomous cars will be built, but will people get onboard with idea?

I tumbled out of bed early one day this week and made it to one of those issues-and-eggs type of breakfasts, this piece of policy jawboning offered by the Urban Land Institute on the topic of autonomous vehicles. Three experts and a moderator worked through the implications and prospects for that particular transportation innovation, and they had some...
TEXAS DIGEST: Heart transplant hospital could lose Medicaid funds

HOUSTON Heart transplant hospital could lose Medicaid A Houston hospital that suspended its heart transplant program for two weeks amid scrutiny following the deaths of two patients could lose federal Medicaid funding. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center on Friday was notified that Medicare plans to halt funding to its heart transplant program in...
Tracking the legal challenge to Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance
Tracking the legal challenge to Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance

City of Austin attorneys will be in court Monday to defend the paid sick leave ordinance passed in February that mandates employers provide paid sick days. Here are five things to know about the lawsuit: 1. What is the paid sick leave ordinance? Set to take effect Oct. 1, the ordinance made Austin the first city in Texas to regulate sick leave. Many...
Community news: Feedback sought on city’s clothing recycling service

TRAVIS COUNTY SOUTH AUSTIN Input sought on clothing recycling The city of Austin Resource Recovery is seeking feedback regarding the clothing recycling service operated by Simple Recycling from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Austin Public Library Pleasant Hill Branch, 211 E. William Cannon Drive. Austin Resource Recovery is seeking feedback from customers...
Traffic report for week of June 25, 2018

Interstate 35 (Travis County): The right lane on the southbound access road will be closed as needed between Delmar and Blackson avenues from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. The left lane on the southbound access road will be closed between Stassney Lane and the William Cannon Drive exit from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights, and the William...
More Stories