Wrong-way driver who killed family of 4 will serve at least 20 years

Wilson Molinares (Hays County Photo)
Wilson Molinares (Hays County Photo)

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Wilson Molinares, the Texas State University student who crashed into a family of six — killing four — while driving the wrong way on Interstate 35 last year, has pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter charges.

Molinares, 22, was sentenced on Dec. 15 to 40 years in prison following a plea deal. After serving 20 years, Molinares becomes eligible for parole.

Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau said Wednesday, “There wasn’t really anything we could do to put this family back together. Given Molinares’ youth, obviously there has to be very serious consequences, we thought it was appropriate that he could still have some sort of life. We thought the number of years he’ll be serving is a just result.”

Mau said, if there is any silver lining, it is that young people will see there are consequences when you drink and drive.

In March 2016, the $1 million bond set for Molinares, who was in his final semester at Texas State studying computer science at time of the crash, was lowered to $700,000. Marta Hernandez, Molinares’ mother, said he was in the hospital for two weeks after the crash, followed by physical rehab.

Jacob Hiebert, who died in a wrong-way crash on I-35 in Kyle, and his older sisters (Family Photo)
Jacob Hiebert, who died in a wrong-way crash on I-35 in Kyle, and his older sisters (Family Photo)

The crash happened around 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 19, when Molinares drove his Honda Civic southbound in the northbound lanes of I-35. A Kyle police officer was trying to catch up to Molinares when he crashed into the family driving in a minivan.

As the officer pulled up to the scene, a truck crashed into the minivan, a moment captured by a nearby surveillance camera. 

The driver of the minivan, 31-year-old Heinrich Martens; along with husband and wife, Margaretha Hildebrand, 27, and Gerard Hiebert Peters, 30; as well as their 16-month-old boy Jacob Hiebert, all died at the scene of the crash. The family’s two young girls, Helena Hiebert, 6, and Mikayla Hiebert, 3, were rescued from the minivan with minor injuries. The family was traveling from Durango, Mexico to Canada.

In an interview with KXAN, family members said they were working out who the two girls would live with. “We told them that their parents were no longer alive and they had died and it felt like, it sounded like, they already knew,” said Abram Hiebert, Gerhard’s brother.

Editor’s Note: Molinares was sentenced to a minimum of 20, up to 40 years in prison, not 20 years total as this article initially stated. 

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