Just before 1:30 a.m. Sunday, police say several motorists called 911 to report a Toyota pickup truck that was driving in the wrong direction on U.S. 67 in Alvarado. Before they could respond, the driver collided head-on with a Ford Mustang, killing three of the four passengers.
Alvarado police said 22-year-old Maranda Abshire of Alvarado was traveling home from work after picking up her two children and half-sister from her grandfather’s house. Abshire’s vehicle was struck on U.S. 67 between County Road 810 and Baker Lane. Abshire and her two sons were pronounced dead at the scene.
Abshire’s 13-year-old half-sister, Lindsey Reynolds of Alvarado, survived the crash and was flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. She is reported to be in good condition.
Investigators said all passengers, including Abshire’s children, 5-year-old Christopher Adrian Dominguez and 2-year-old Cruz Dominguez, were restrained with safety devices and recommended car and booster seats.
Abshire’s grandfather Eldon Abshire told NBC 5 their deaths just don’t make any sense.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do without them,” Eldon Abshire said. “I loved them so much.”
Abshire said his great-grandsons were “Papa’s boys.”
“I just can’t believe the Lord took them so young,” Abshire said. “But if there is a place for me in Heaven, I’ll see them again.”
The driver of the Toyota pickup truck — 53-year-old Ricardo Martinez of Fort Worth — had to be extricated from his truck by firefighters. He was flown to a local hospital.
Alvarado PD issued four warrants for Martinez: three charges of murder and a fourth for intoxication assault on the surviving juvenile occupant.
Medical records obtained by subpoena confirmed Martinez’s blood alcohol content to be .240 at 4:11 a.m. Sunday.
Martinez has two previous convictions for driving while intoxicated, one being from Denton County and the other from Tarrant County.
Martinez is in the custody of Alvarado Police Department and waiting for transfer to Johnson County.
Ryan Johnson of Burleson set up a verified GoFundMe account for the Abshire family “to help raise funds for the family, for medical expenses, funeral expenses and anything else that they may need during this time.”
Johnson, who does not personally know the family, said he set a goal of $2,000. Within 12 hours, his goal was surpassed by four times. As of Monday afternoon, $9,494 had been raised by 210 people in 20 hours.
Audra Missey of Rio Vista does not know the Abshire family but felt compelled to donate.
“It’s so awesome to see our community helping out in this tragedy,” Misser said. “It warms my heart to see all the good people. I did not know them but my heart goes out to everyone that loves them.”
Erin Arthur of Alvarado also commented on the fundraising page.
“My heart aches for this family and the generosity here is amazing,” Arthur said. “Alone we are something, but together we are non-stoppable.”
Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/marandaabshire.
Chili’s Grill & Bar
Maranda Abshire worked as a bartender and waitress at the Chili’s Grill & Bar in Cleburne.
Jordan Hunter of Cleburne worked with Abshire and posted a statement about the restaurant’s loss on her Facebook page.
“[It’s] by far the hardest shift all of us has ever had to work,” Hunter said. “It hits home ya know. We’re like one big family honestly.”
Chili’s Manager Latoya Crommedy said they will be working with the family to set up a Chili’s Give Back Night, a fundraiser where the restaurant “gives back” 10 percent of sales from the night.
“We are kind of letting them get over the shock right now,” Crommedy said. “But we are going to do whatever we can to help the family.
Debbie Hanks, director of Kiddie Korral Daycare Center, said they are raising money to help the family by raffling off a 48-inch television, tool set and one year of lawn service.
“Maranda was a very dear friend of my twin granddaughters,” Hanks said. “We are just trying to do anything we can to help.”
Cleburne Lowe’s Home Improvement donated $800 worth of Dewalt and Kobalt power tools. Dwayne Trussell donated one year of free lawn service for a standard lot in Alvarado, Keene or Cleburne.
Raffle tickets cost one for $5 or five for $20. They can be purchased at the daycare, 100 N. Baugh Street in Alvarado, until March 23.
Rogelio Benitez, a friend of the family, is auctioning off a special type of hen to raise money for the family.
“I am donating a RH Pullet to the highest bidder,” Benitez said. “All money will go to the family to help with what is going on.”
Benitez said he plans to keep the auction open until Friday night. As of Monday afternoon, the highest bid was $485. Bids can be placed at www.tinyurl.com/12kzekn.