By Moses Leos III
A Texas State student has been identified as the driver of a Honda Civic that drove the wrong way on Interstate 35 Friday and crashed head-on into a Ford Windstar, killing four people.
Hays County Justice of the Peace Precinct No. 2 Judge Beth Smith identified the driver of the Civic as Wilson Rene Molinares, 22, of San Marcos. Texas State confirmed to other media outlets Friday Molinares is a student.
In a press conference, Smith said a blood search warrant was issued for Molinares, who is at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin in critical condition.
Smith said authorities hope to have results from the blood search warrant “pretty soon.” Depending on the results of the blood draw, Molinares could face up to four counts of intoxication manslaughter.
Kyle Police continue to investigate the accident and no charges have been filed.
Smith also identified the four people in the Windstar who were killed. The van was carrying six passengers, three of them children. All of the passengers were from Ontario, Canada.
Smith said all passengers were wearing seatbelts and the children were in car seats. She said the car seats were “crushed.”
The driver of the Windstar was identified as Heinrich Martens, 30. An adult female passenger was identified as Margaretha Wall Hildebrandt, 27, with another adult male passenger identified as Gerhard Hiebert Peters, 30.
A child who was killed in the accident was identified as 16-month-old Jacob Wall Hiebert.
Two other children in the van were taken to Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin. According to Smith, the two children are with Child Protective Services and a Victim’s Assistant from Kyle. Smith said the uncle of the two children is flying to the area from Canada.
A third vehicle, a Ford F-150, was also involved in the crash. The driver of the pickup truck was identified as Luke Barone, 23, of Elgin. Barone was treated at the scene and released.
According to Smith, Kyle Police were dispatched at 1:31 a.m. regarding a wrong way driver going southbound on the northbound side of IH-35.
Smith said she believes Molinares got on the highway at exit 215.
She said an officer who was traveling on the east access road when he saw “taillights going on, and he knew there had been an accident.”
“It was immediate,” Smith said.
The Civic crashed head-on into the Windstar, which was carrying six passengers, near mile marker 214. The Windstar then, according to Smith, slid over into the next lane and hit the pickup truck.
Smith said the four deceased were dead on arrival and were pronounced when she arrived at 2:25 a.m.
Traffic was diverted for several hours onto the access road at exit 213 just south of Center Street. Kyle Police reopened the highway around 6:30 a.m. just as rush hour was building up.
Kyle Police confirmed they will close down the northbound lane on the portion of I-35 where the wreck occurred, with permission from TxDOT, between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday for accident reconstruction.
Smith said she knew “immediately” there would be “several deceased” when she arrived at the scene. Smith described the scene as “horrific.”
“I’ve been doing this for 17 years and went to my first debriefing this morning with fire fighters and police officers,” Smith said. “I have never been to one.”
Smith said she didn’t know of any drugs or alcohol that were found in the Civic. But she believed alcohol could have played a factor based on similar accident scenes she had been a part of.
“I’ve seen several accidents on (IH-35) where wrong way drivers, they have all, so far had alcohol involved,” Smith said.