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Speed cited in wreck that claimed teens

September 22, 2018

New details have emerged from two Southeast Texas wrecks that took seven lives in less than two weeks.

Failure to control speed was determined to be the cause of a Sept. 9 accident in Hardin County that claimed the lives of three teenagers and sent a fourth to the hospital, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a report. The deaths and the community reaction to them dominated local news coverage for days.

In that multicar accident, on FM 787 near Saratoga, driver Caringtin Mosley and front passenger Alix Neel were both wearing seatbelts when Mosley’s Chrysler 200 rear-ended a van, the DPS report said.

The two 18-year-olds from Batson died at the scene.

Rear passengers Garrett Saulters, 18, and Jaron Benavides, 17, were not wearing seatbelts, the report said. Saulters, of Votaw, was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. Benavides, of Kountze, remains hospitalized.

Immediately following the wreck, Benavides underwent surgery to remove his spleen and gallbladder and to put a rod in his left leg, his mother Heather Yates said at the time. He had a fractured right leg and a partially collapsed lung, she said.

Annie Murphy, a friend of the Benavides family, said Friday that the teen is no longer in the intensive care unit.

On Wednesday, Benavides tweeted that he “didn’t know how many people are behind me until this all happened. A real eye opener.”

He also recalled his friends with the same type of intensity expressed by mourners at volleyball games, funeral home visitations and a public memorial.

“They had so much to offer and were all kind hearted,” he wrote.

Murphy has planned a Nov. 11 community-wide benefit to help with medical expenses.

Autopsy results for Mosley, Neel and Saulters have not yet been released.

The DPS report found nothing at the scene to indicate drugs or alcohol were contributing factors.

Police are still investigating a Thursday morning wreck that killed a mother and her three children, but Officer Haley Morrow of the Beaumont Police Department said the 18-wheeler rear-ended the vehicle carrying Chelsea Standberry, her children and three other relatives. The driver of the rig has not been charged with anything, Morrow said.

Standberry, 36, Anthony Standberry Jr., 10, Anaiyah Standberry, 8, and Chase Standberry, 6, of Marietta, Ga., were traveling westbound on I-10 near Major Drive.

An eight-vehicle pileup with at least one fire resulted.

Morrow said heavy traffic related to a separate, single-fatality wreck that occurred about two hours earlier on the same stretch of highway might have been a factor in the crash.

In addition to the four deaths, the wreck sent at least 10 others to the hospital.

The injured included Chelsea Standberry’s husband of 10 years, Anthony; her 18-year-old stepdaughter; and her mother-in-law, who remains in a coma. Friday night, Anthony’s cousin Nicole Jones remembered Chelsea as a loving wife and mother.

She also was an actress, born in Houston and raised in Atlanta, whose stage name was ChelseyRai S. Standberry.

“I wouldn’t have preferred anyone else to be a wife to my cousin or a role model to these kids from his other marriage,” Jones said in a telephone call. “She was the perfect role model on how to be a young woman. And that’s what I admired about them.”

Daughter Anaiyah was already following her mother into acting. Jones said they all were “fun-loving and respectful.”

“They were very pure kids,” Jones said. “ … Heaven has really gained four angels.”

A GoFundme account to help with family funeral expenses had raised more than $11,000 by Friday afternoon.

Statewide last year, there were 433 fatal wrecks involving tractor-trailers.

erica.apodaca@beaumontenterprise.com

haley.bruyn@beaumontenterprise.com

phoebe.suy@beaumontenterprise.com

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