‘I don’t want her life to be in vain’: Family of woman killed by suspected drunk driver seeks justice

Taylor McCowan, 23, died in a drunk-driving crash on 1604 early last year

SAN ANTONIO – Taylor McCowan lived 23 years in this world with confidence, says her best friend Jonae Perkins.

“We saw how she lived for God. She would confidently say, ‘Oh when it’s my time, it’s my time,’” Perkins said.

Sadly that day came on January 31, 2020, when a wrong-way driver hit her head-on while she was driving on Loop 1604 near Babcock Road, coming home from a bible study.

Her twin sister and roommate have taken her death the hardest.

“I cannot tell you that I don’t think about her every day. She’s half of me,” Ashley said. “I see her in my reflection when I look at myself in the mirror.”

Ashley said it was the most difficult two weeks of her life. Her sister’s organs were slowly failing but just like in life, her heart was the strongest and kept hanging on. But, Ashley could feel her twin letting go.

“Something in me just broke and I knew nothing was ever going to be the same. And the next day, my sister called me first and she said Taylor passed away. And I said, ‘I knew it.’ And it was her heart that gave out, so that was her telling us that ‘I’m ready to go on my time.’”

But the vibrancy and passion that she lived her life like, is inspiring her family to be better, to do better and to make a difference in her name.

“It just makes me want to be better because I don’t want anything that she did to be in vain,” Perkins said.

“She’s not the only person nor will she ever be the last person to die from someone who was drunk-driving, especially drunk-driving the wrong way,” Ashley said.

Her family is exploring ways to raise awareness about drunk-driving, and mental health support for families following a tragic death.

Jonathan Jones, a deputy U.S. Marshal at the time, was arrested and charged in connection to McCowan’s death. Court documents show that in May 2020, a Grand Jury indicted him for intoxication manslaughter.

His bond conditions indicated he would have an ignition interlock device on his vehicle, and a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor device to detect any history of alcohol in his system and routine alcohol tests.

Three months later, in August 2020, he filed a motion to have the SCRAM removed and in December, a judge granted that motion. In early February, a judge partially changed his bond conditions, saying Jones can’t operate any vehicle that’s not equipped with an interlock device and approved him for Antabuse, a pill to treat chronic alcoholism so that he can remove the ankle monitor.

Jones’ attorney’s did not reply to our email or our calls for comment. Online records show his trial is set for May.

Perkins hopes the person responsible isn’t granted special privileges because of his rank.

“The person who is drunk-driving, they just get to go on with their life. You know, it’s been a year and like, they’re out there with family like they’re all together,” she said. “We’re left to just like pick up the pieces.”

RELATED: Woman dies after deputy US Marshal hit her in wrong-way driving crash on 1604


About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.