Family urges people to drive carefully after helping victims of deadly New Year's Day crash

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Daryel Simmons and Chasity Beal were ringing in the new year with family when just an hour after midnight, they rushed to help the people involved in a deadly crash at the intersection of Barker Cypress and Barkers Branch.

"We heard a crash and then I took off over the fence," Simmons said.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's office, three people were killed and four people were injured when a minivan collided with a SUV just after 1 a.m. Saturday.

"To us, it was like bodies were everywhere. That's something you see on TV. You don't see that in real life," said Beal, Simmons' cousin.

Deputies believe the 70-year-old driver of a red Toyota Sienna was at fault in the deadly crash, although they believe the 32-year-old driver of the second vehicle involved was intoxicated.

Deputies said a silver Toyota Rav4 was driving north on Barker Cypress, approaching the intersection, while the Sienna was making a left turn from the southbound lanes of Barker Cypress onto Barkers Branch.

That's when investigators said the Sienna failed to yield while turning left and was hit by the Rav4.

"As of right now the Sienna is at fault for this crash, but it is being reconstructed to determine if speed may have played a factor, and also if being intoxicated as well, so charges may be upgraded in the future," explained Sgt. Beatty with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said three of the six people inside the van were not wearing seatbelts and were ejected during the crash.

Two of them died at the scene and one of them died later in the hospital.

The driver sustained serious, but non-life threatening injuries, according to deputies.

SEE PREVIOUS POST: 3 killed, 4 injured in major New Year's crash in northwest Harris County

"One of those individuals that was transported was pronounced deceased, also at the hospital," Sgt. Beatty said, "The driver and sole occupant of the Toyota Rav4 was transported to Memorial Hermann Katy, where she exhibited clues of being intoxicated."

The women who came to help are still shaken by what they saw.

"It's difficult to think that I could have been that woman's last face before she died," Simmons said. "So I think for our family, because that's all we've been thinking about, it brought us a little bit of peace."

They are hoping the flowers they placed at the intersection honor the victims and remind others to drive more carefully.

"You can hear how fast the cars are driving. Yeah, they definitely need to slow down. It's going to happen again," said Beal.
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