Driver who hit car, killing 3 Fort Worth teens, was going 73 mph in 45 zone, warrant says

A driver involved in a crash early on Aug. 18 that killed three June graduates of Trimble Tech High School was traveling 73 mph in a 45 mph zone seconds before the collision, according to an arrest warrant.

Miguel Angel Campos Maravillas, 23, is charged with manslaughter in connection with the crash, the warrant shows. Yosmeri Mendez, 18, and Dianaluisa Lopez, 18, were pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck, and the driver of the teens’ car, Natalie Melissa Castro, also 18, died of her injuries in a hospital nine days after the crash.

The crash occurred about 2:30 a.m. at the intersection of Rodeo Street and Mansfield Highway in Fort Worth, according to the warrant. The teens’ car had slowly gone through a stop sign, the warrant says, when Campos — who was traveling at an excessive rate of speed — hit them.

A video of the crash taken from a nearby residence was obtained by Fort Worth police. It showed a red 2014 Nissan Sentra carrying the girls was heading west on Rodeo Street when it eased into the intersection of Mansfield Highway, making a southwest turn, the warrant says.

The car, though it slowed into the intersection, didn’t stop at the stop sign. A black 2016 Buick Verano driven by Campos then struck the Nissan.

Witnesses to the crash also described this series of events to officers, police said.

The day after the crash, a Fort Worth detective spoke on the phone to Campos, who said he believed he had been driving about 50 mph in the 45 mph zone, the warrant says. The detective told him he needed to analyze the Airbag Control Module in his car, which records vehicle data, including speeds before an airbag deploys.

Campos came to the detective’s office and signed a consent form for the ACM in his Buick to be imaged, according to the warrant. The imaging reportedly showed the Buick was traveling 73 mph three seconds before the crash.

Police also filed a search warrant to image the ACM in Castro’s red Nissan, the warrant says. The results indicated the Nissan was traveling 16 mph in the intersection.

Analyzing the ACM data from both the cars along with the video provided by a nearby resident, police came to the conclusion the crash would have been avoided if Campos were driving at the speed limit, the warrant says.

Castro braked the Nissan as it approached Mansfield Highway and then released the brakes, accelerating slowly into the intersection. Three seconds passed between the time the Nissan released its brakes and the collision, according to the warrant.

When the Nissan began to accelerate, the Buick was more than 300 feet southeast of the intersection, the warrant says. If the Buick were traveling at 45 mph, it would have gone 197 feet in three seconds, coming up more than 100 feet short of the Nissan, police believe.

Campos was booked into Fort Worth Jail on Sept. 11, according to jail records. He and a passenger in his car didn’t request medical treatment after the crash, according to the warrant.

The detective investigating the crash visited Castro before she died, the warrant says.

GoFundMe drives have been set up for each of the three victims that say funds will help families with funeral expenses. Combined, the three pages raised more than $18,500 as of Friday afternoon.

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Jack Howland is a breaking news and enterprise reporter. Before coming to the Star-Telegram in May 2019, he worked for two and a half years as a breaking news reporter at the Poughkeepsie Journal in New York. He’s a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.