Man charged with DWI in crash that killed Hays HS student

16-year-old Hays High School junior, Joshua Otto, died in a crash on Jan. 12, 2016. (Courtesy: Hays CISD)
16-year-old Hays High School junior, Joshua Otto, died in a crash on Jan. 12, 2016. (Courtesy: Hays CISD)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A fiery crash in a South Austin field has claimed the life of a Hays High School student. The Hays Consolidated Independent School District says 16-year-old Joshua Otto died in the crash.

The incident happened on Monday evening just before 6 p.m. in the 9800 block of Alice Mae Lane, on the west side of Southpark Meadows shopping center. The Austin Police Department say four men were in the older model Jeep, and believe they were off-roading in the area at the time of the crash. Investigators say the car flipped and caught on fire. Three of the men were able to get out of the car, but a teenage male was trapped in the vehicle and killed.

The driver of the vehicle, John Ramirez, 28, was charged with a DWI Wednesday following the crash. He has bonded out of Travis County Jail. In a police affidavit, officers state that they found Ramirez with an odor of an “alcoholic beverage.”

Police said Tuesday that alcohol was a major factor in the crash. The men in the car ranged from teens to 20s.

A Jeep caught on fire in an area off Alice Mae Lane. (Sophia Beausoleil/KXAN)
A Jeep caught on fire in an area off Alice Mae Lane. (Sophia Beausoleil/KXAN)

“As you know we had a very tragic year last year in terms of traffic fatalities in the City of Austin, and we can only urge people to drive safely,” said Nathan Blake, APD Senior Police Officer. “Intoxicated driving, there are always consequences.”

Blake says it was difficult find the crash site because of the terrain.

“He was a remarkable young man who has been a part of the Hays CISD family since elementary school. He will be missed by the entire community. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers,” said the district on its Facebook page of Otto. A Hays CISD spokesperson says grief counselors will be made available to students Wednesday.

A district spokesperson says two former students and four current students have died since October.

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