Surveillance camera captures deadly I-35 wrong-way crash

Surveillance video that caught the crash that killed a family of 5 (KXAN Photo)
Surveillance video that caught the crash that killed a family of 5 (KXAN Photo)

KYLE (KXAN) — Twenty-two-year-old Wilson Molinares, the driver in the wrong-way crash that claimed four people, will face four counts of manslaughter, KXAN learned Tuesday evening.

Surveillance video from a nearby business on Interstate 35 shows when the wrong-way driver crashed into a minivan carrying six people the morning of Friday, Feb. 19.

Four people were killed including a 16-month old boy, his parents and the driver. The couple’s six and three-year-old girls survived.

“My mouth just gaped the first time I saw the footage,” said Travis Mitchell, owner of Mitchell Motor Sports in Kyle. “When I saw its entirety I realized that some part of this wreck could have been prevented.”

Mitchell said he lives on his property and heard sirens along I-35 Friday morning. It wasn’t until later on in the day, he decided to look at his surveillance video and saw it captured not one, but two crashes.

On the videos time stamp at around 1:11 a.m., a Honda Civic is seen going the wrong way on I-35 in the far left lane. It appears Molinares is headed southbound on the northbound side of the interstate in the video.

He then collides with a mini-van carrying six people which flips over and slides down the highway. “It just broke my heart when I saw it initially after impact, there were several vehicles that pulled nearly to a complete stop in front of the van including a bus, I believe, and they just decided for whatever reason that they weren’t the ones that needed to help and they just kept going,” said Mitchell.

Over the next two minutes, the video shows at least 15 vehicles slow down, put their hazard lights on and drive around the upside down minivan right after the crash.

“I mean I know that the speeds are high but if that initial cluster of vehicles had all stopped and put their hazards on and just stayed in the road,” said Mitchell.

At 1:13 a.m. a truck is seen traveling behind a car in the left lane. The car switches lanes and the truck ends up T-boning the minivan and pushing it further down the interstate.

Not even seconds later, an officer pulls up.

“No matter how you choose to interpret the video, at the end of the day, the person responsible is the person that was driving the wrong way,” said Mitchell. “You can’t lay blame at anyone else’s feet, but you can learn lessons from what happened and the lesson I want people to learn is that it’s important to render aid.”

Mitchell said he turned the video over to police, but wanted to share it with the public because he believes the second crash could have been avoided.

“I try to put myself in that situation I try to think if I was driving up and saw that happen knowing how gruesome that was, what would I do,” said Mitchell. “I want to tell you that I would stop, but I can’t say that for certain, I do know now having seen the footage that I am more motivated to stop than I ever have been.”

Kyle police wouldn’t comment on the video because the case is still under investigation.

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