AUSTIN (KXAN) — A 23-year-old woman and a 15-year-old boy killed in a crash on North Interstate 35, just south of US 290, on Jan. 4 have been named by the Austin Police Department.
Ashley Martinez was driving a 2001 GMC Jimmy northbound on I-35 when the vehicle stopped in the center lane for an unknown reason. An 18-wheeler rear-ended the SUV, causing it to burst into flames just before midnight.
Both Martinez and her passenger, Eloy Herrera, were killed, police said.
One of the first people to pull up to the scene spoke to KXAN over the weekend. Leslie Valdez said she saw the crash happen in front of her and tried to rescue the two in the SUV. “The fire was only in the back half of the car, that’s why we were trying to get her out, or the driver, but we just couldn’t,” Valdez said. “The seat belt wouldn’t come off, the door wouldn’t open. I mean, I have never felt so helpless in my life.”
Valdez went to the crash site later to lay flowers down and place a cross on the roadside.
Austin police are still investigating the crash. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the APD Vehicular Homicide Unit at 512-974-5594.
Herrera’s family has started a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral costs.
Editor’s Note: The press release from the Austin Police Department initially spelled Eloy Herrera’s name incorrectly. The story has been updated with the correct spelling.