** READ AN UPDATE HERE **
Stories like this make me want to cry. Even though two weeks have passed since 29-year-old WFPD Officer Teddie Whitefield broadsided teenage cousins Yeni Lopez and Gloria Montoya, the pain is still growing – especially as details involving this horrific accident emerge.
As reported today by the Associated Press, Officer Whitefield was driving in excess of 80 miles per hour along Jacksboro Highway (45 mph speed limit) when he hit the girls as they tried to cross over. According to the accident report “Evidence at the scene also showed the driver of Unit 1 (the police car) took no evasive action when a reasonable person would have.”
Early indications are that Whitefield was distracted by something in his car and didn’t see the girls until it was too late.
18-year-old Yeni Lopez was driving the other vehicle. From a DPS statement released Thursday, she didn’t have a driver’s license and was possibly distracted by her cell phone at the time of the accident. The expecting mother (she was close to 8 months pregnant) died with her 13-year-old passenger at the scene.
Officer Whitefield was also injured – although we don’t know how seriously. Regardless of his physical injuries, this is one accident that he may never recover from. After six years of serving and protecting the people of Wichita Falls, the pain of knowing he was involved in the death of two of its citizens – and an unborn baby – must be grueling.
Words cannot express the sadness this tragedy has brought on the Rasansky Law Firm. Before we are legal professionals, we are Texans with children of our own. What the families of Yeni Lopez and Gloria Montoya must be going through right now is unimaginable.
Drive safely, Dallas.