AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two Austin High School students died in a car collision with a tree so violent, it split the vehicle in half.
Austin medics say a woman and an 18-year-old man were killed, and 18-year-old Cliff Kinkade was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He has since been updated to serious condition.
The crash happened around 11 a.m. at the intersection of Barton Hills and Foxglen drives in the Barton Hills neighborhood just south of Zilker Park.
Kinkade’s father said Cliff was in a medically-induced coma in the intensive care unit at University Medical Center Brackenridge suffering from broken ribs, a swollen brain and a collapsed lung.
“It’s just a terrible feeling,” said Clifford Kinkade III. “It’s just something that…we are thankful that Cliff is still with us. I really don’t know what I would’ve done if I was one of those other parents.”
He said the students were on their way to lunch when the crash happened.
“God was with him today. If you see the car you’ll see that God was the one that pulled him out of that car today,” Kinkade III added. “There was no other person that saved him but God.”
He added that hundreds of students had stopped by the hospital to visit with the family and check on Kinkade’s condition.
Austin Police say there were no witnesses to the wreck, but Nina Miller says she went outside and ran over to help when she heard a loud screech followed by a loud crash.
“I saw a man just sitting completely still in half of a car and I just start screaming,” said Miller.
Investigators believe the car was traveling south on on Barton Hills Drive and several neighbors say it is a problematic road. The crash happened around a curve in the street which comes just after a blind hill. Traffic on the road has also picked up according to those who live nearby.
“I think it is a cut through for when Lamar gets backed up,” said Dave Ryther. “The speed limit is 30 mph, but I regularly see people going 50-55 mph.”
The site of the crash is one block from Barton Hills Elementary, but there is little to slow drivers down.
“A number of neighbors have put in requests in the past for speed bumps, but it has never gone anywhere,” said Ryther.
It is unknown how fast the vehicle was moving prior to the crash, but Austin Police’s Vehicular Homicide unit is trying to recreate what caused the driver to lose control.
“Our vehicular homicide unit will come out with their surveying equipment and they’ll measure several points with the vehicle and skid,” said Officer Virginia Higgenbotham. “They’ll plug that into a computer and hopefully they’ll be able to get an accurate speed.”