A big rig driver has been arrested on intoxication manslaughter charges and a small town is mourning the loss of two teenage girls and their parents who were killed in a wrong-way crash on Highway 90 in west San Antonio late Saturday night.
Hundreds of people packed the Brackett High School gymnasium Sunday afternoon to honor the memory of Kenneth and Melissa Koontz and their two daughters, Madison and Marley.
The four were killed after their Ford SUV was struck head-on by an 18-wheeler driving on the wrong side of Highway 90 just before midnight. Zach Koontz was the only family member to survive the crash.
He was taken to University Hospital where he remained in stable condition Sunday.
The driver of the 18-wheeler was identified as 60-year-old Ruben Galindo. He faces four counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault.
Officials said the family was on their way back to Brackettville after Madison and Marley won a UIL one-act play theater competition in San Antonio.
Judith Adams, one of the girls’ teammates, said the school has lost two of its most beloved students.
“They were both beautiful girls,” Adams said, holding back tears. “They were so kind and nice, and without Madison I don’t know if I would even still be in one-act play.”
Adams was one of dozens of students who received the news of the accident from Brackett High School principal Kevin Newsom.
Word quickly spread through the town of about 2,000 people Sunday morning via text messages and social media.
“These are two girls that were just a wonderful part of our school and community,” Newsom said. “They’re going to be missed, and our kids feel that right now. They’re hurting.”
Madison and Marley’s classmates said the two went out of their way to be nice to everyone at the small school, a trait instilled in them by their parents.
“They were superb parents,” Brackett ISD Superintendent Taylor Stephenson said. “They lived the Christian ethic and their kids modeled it for the other kids and for the community.”
Grief counselors will be at Brackett High School Monday. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.