By Anita Miller
The Texas Department of Safety has confirmed that errors were made in the initial reporting of a head-on collision Dec. 18 on FM 1826 east of Dripping Springs.
Killed in the crash were Austin residents 38-year-old Caranda Mathis, who was driving a 2018 Infiniti QX8, and Kaylee Rosales, 30, who was driving a 2016 Toyota 4Runner. The initial report from Sgt. Deon Cockrell, DPS spokesman for Hays and Caldwell counties, had the wrong drivers in the wrong cars.
Cockrell also reported that “for unknown reasons,” the Toyota had crossed the center lane. On Thursday morning, the DPS confirmed through the investigating officer’s official preliminary report, that it was the Infiniti which crossed the line, not the Toyota.
According to the official accident report, the body of Rosales was released to Legends Funeral Home, while that of Mathis was sent to the Travis County Medical Examiner for an autopsy. Hays County Justice of the Peace John Burns did not return calls or emails seeking comment about whether both women would be autopsied.
Hays County Justice of the Peace John Burns toxicology reports — which determine whether a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol — are conducted. However that process can take weeks if not months to complete. DPS troopers have 10 days from the date of a crash to turn in reports, but warn that in the case of fatalities, that process can take even longer.
Over the past weeks, the staff of the Hays Free Press and News Dispatch has talked with family and friends of both victims. We sympathize with their concerns and wish we had been given better initial information. Sgt. Cockrell is an agency spokesman and was not at the scene of the crash.
We fully intend to acquire the full report as soon as it is available through the DPS’ online purchase system