4 killed, 9 hurt in ‘horrific’ crash

Posted Monday, Jun. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A mother, a daughter, a local youth minister and the stranded motorist they were trying to help were identified Monday as the four people killed in a “horrific” multi-vehicle crash last weekend in southern Tarrant County.

Hollie Boyles, 52, and her daughter, Shelby Boyles 21, had left their home to help Breanna Mitchell, 24, of Lillian, whose sport utility vehicle had become disabled nearby, according to the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office.

Brian Jennings, a 41-year-old youth minister at Alsbury Baptist Church and father of three, was driving past and had pulled over to assist.

Investigators say they believe a vehicle slammed into Mitchell’s disabled SUV on the dark, narrow road near Spinks Airport late Saturday.

Two other vehicles, including Jennings’, were also damaged in the wreck on Burleson-Retta Road. Nine other people were injured.

The Tarrant County Medical examiner's office said that Jennings died from injuries to the head, neck and abdomen and that Mitchell died from “multiple blunt-force injuries.”

Both were “due to motor vehicle-pedestrian collision,” while standing along the shoulder in the 1500 block of Burleson-Retta Road.

Investigators are working on two fronts – accident reconstruction and a possible criminal investigation – as they sort through the events leading up to the accident, which occurred about 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

Alcohol may have been a factor in the wreck, said Tarrant County sheriff’s spokesman Terry Grisham. Investigators have interviewed “dozens” of witnesses at the scene and at area hospitals since the accident occurred.

“There is a ton of work to be done,” Grisham said Monday.

Besides the SUV, the sheriff’s office said the vehicles involved were a red pickup driven by a 16-year-old, with seven teenagers from Hurst, Fort Worth and North Richland Hills riding along; Jennings’ white pickup, which was also carrying a 13-year-old and 12-year-old; and a red Volkswagen, drive by Ashlyn Evans, 18, of Burleson, with a 14-year-old inside.

No one has been charged in the accident.

Kay Ward, who lives two doors down from the Boyles' home, said that she didn't know the family well, having moved into the neighborhood in October, but that Hollie Boyles impressed her from the start.

“She came over to welcome us to the neighborhood,” Ward recalled. “She said, 'We just built a shop and we have a ton of tools. If you ever need anything, come on over.’”

“She was bubbly and nice. She always honked and waved. She seemed like the kind of person who I think would go out and help somebody.”

Authorities said Jennings had stopped to help Mitchell after attending a party for his son.

“He was on his way back to the church after a graduation party for his son,” said longtime friend Tim Willliams. Jennings’ son had recently graduated from Burleson High School.

“He stopped his truck because he saw that another vehicle was in a culvert. He was hit as he was trying to help someone.”

Some of those in the red pickup were apparently students from Keller Central High School, according to social media websites.

Two of them were reportedly in critical condition, according to a MedStar official. Their conditions were not available Monday.

For hours Sunday, Burleson-Retta Road was closed as authorities re-created the wreck to determine a cause. Fort Worth police assisted in the investigation.

Debris from the wrecked vehicles covered the road Sunday morning. Shoes, a broken wheel and a chair cluttered the roadway.

“It's the most horrific wreck I have seen in years,” Grisham said.

Staff writer Bill Miller contributed to this report.

Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698 Twitter: @fwhanna

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