Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

June 17, 2013

Updated: Victims in Burleson-Retta Road wreck identified

3 ‘Good Samaritans’ killed in crash while aiding stranded motorist, also killed

By Tammye Nash/reporter3@trcle.com

Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office officials released the names of the four people killed late Saturday night in a four-car crash on Burleson-Retta Road.

Brian Jennings, 43, teen pastor at Alsbury Baptist Church in Burleson, was identified by friends on Sunday as one of the four killed.

Breanna Mitchell, 24, of Lillian, Hollie Boyles, 42, and her daughter, Shelby Boyles, 21, who lived near the scene of the accident, were also killed in the wreck, according to information released Monday.

Nine other people — all teenagers — were taken to Fort Worth hospitals, including two who were in critical condition, according to a statement released early Sunday by Matt Zavadsky, director of public affairs for MedStar Mobile Health. One of those two was transported by air ambulance, Zavadsky said.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Terry Grisham said Tuesday that investigators are still trying to determine exactly what happened in the accident, which occurred shortly before midnight in the 1500 block of Burleson Retta Road, just east of Spinks Airport. Evidence at the scene does indicate that alcohol may have been involved, he said.

A spokeswoman with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission on Monday said the TABC has started its own investigation to determine what if any role alcohol played in the crash.

Grisham said a white SUV driven by Mitchell, a white pickup driven by Jennings and a red pickup driven by 17-year-old Ethan Couch were all headed west on Burleson Retta Road. The fourth vehicle, a  red Volkswagen driven by 18-year-old Ashlyn Evans of Burleson, was eastbound at the time of the accident.

Initial investigation indicates that Mitchell, on her way home from work, had a blowout on the dark, narrow stretch of road, Her white SUV was parked in the ditch facing west.

Jennings was on his way back from his eldest son’s high school graduation party and headed to Alsbury Baptist to return folding tables and chairs he had borrowed for the party. When he saw Mitchell stranded on the side of the road, he stopped to help, leaving two youngsters riding with him —  Lucas McConnell, 12, and Isaiah McLaughlin, 13 —  in his truck.

Hollie and Shelby Boyles also came out to help Mitchell, reports indicate.

The four were standing near Mitchell’s SUV when Couch’s red pickup, westbound carrying seven teenage passengers, slammed into the parked vehicles and into the man and three women standing near them.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s website indicates that Mitchell — who was on the telephone with her mother at the time of the collision, according to reports by Fox 4 TV station in Dallas —  died of multiple blunt force injuries. The website indicates Jennings died of blunt force trauma to the head/neck, chest and abdomen.

As of noon Tuesday, neither Hollie nor Shelby Boyles was listed on the medical examiner’s website.

Grisham said that the red Volkswagen was struck by “something propelled down the roadway” by the impact of the crash. “The Volkswagen was sideswiped by the white pickup or the red pickup, most likely. We don’t know exactly which yet,” he said.

“The girls in that Volkswagen, it looks like, just were in the worst possible place at the worst possible time,” Grisham added. “Sooner or later we will know exactly what happened.”

Evans and 14-year-old Peyton Alan of Burleson, a passenger in the Volkswagen, sustained injuries and were taken to a Fort Worth hospital.

Riding in either the cab or the bed of Couch’s pickup were Garrett Ballard, 16, Starr Teague, 15, Christian Victoria, 15, Soliman Mohmand, 15, Sergio Molina, 15, Jacob Goodsell, 15 and Avery Rich, 19.

According to information from social media websites, including Facebook, and statements from family members, several of the passengers in Couch’s truck are students at Keller Central High School. Shellie Johnson, public information officer for Keller ISD, said Tuesday that the school district is legally unable to confirm or deny that the teens were Keller ISD students.

Funeral services for Jennings are at 3 p.m. today at Venue 510, 510 S.W. Wilshire Blvd. in Burleson.

 

Jennings son conducts press conference 

Brian Jennings’ son, 19-year-old Evan Jennings, spoke to the media on Tuesday at Alsbury Baptist Church. Speaking on behalf of his family, Jennings said he would want people to remember his father as a caring man who loved his family, the youth ministry and the people of Burleson.  

Brian Jennings — or B.J., as Evan said he liked to be called — spent last week on vacation with his family at Sea World. Evan Jennings said he was glad to have that memory of his family together one last time. 

Though he said he is struggling, Evan said he is working on forgiving the driver who caused the accident that killed his father and three other people early on Father’s Day. 

“I’d like to read you one of my dad’s favorite verses,” Jennings said. “Colossians 3:1-4 says, ‘If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God, when Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.’

“Around midnight on Father’s Day, my dad got to meet his heavenly father fact to face in glory. I know this is true, because he did set his mind on things that are above. And he dedicated his life to helping others do that.” 

Jennings said that he is sad, angry and confused about the night that his father was killed, but finds strength in what he saw on Brian Jennings’ iPad the day of his death.

“The first screen that came up was his study notes for our youth group,” he said. “The topic, written in big, bold letters, was ‘forgiveness.’ 

“Though his death was a result of the actions and decisions of others, we serve a God of forgiveness and love and that’s where our hearts are.” 

Thanking the community for supporting his family as they come to terms with their new life, Evan Jennings said that he, his younger sister, brother and mom would continue to move forward and seek life’s purpose. 

“He would want that,” Evan said.

 

Reporter Amber Washington contributed to this report.