Witnesses: 2nd driver in deadly Cedar Park crash initiated race, denied taking part
A second man charged for a racing crash in Cedar Park last month that left two children dead initiated the race that caused the crash, according to witnesses.
According to an affidavit, Blake Ayers Kirkpatrick, 22, is facing the charge of racing on a highway causing serious bodily injury, and two counts of racing on a highway causing death.
It happened Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the intersection of West Whitestone Boulevard and Walton Way, just west of Hwy 183.
Investigators say a black 2008 Dodge Ram pickup truck was racing a maroon Ford F-250 pickup truck in the westbound lanes of Whitestone Blvd. when it struck a 2016 Nissan Rogue turning left onto Walton Way.
Witnesses tell police that the driver of the Ford--Kirkpatrick--began revving his engine as soon as the Dodge pulled up next to it.
The driver of the Dodge--Hayden Michael Hammer, 18--told police that Kirkpatrick motioned to him in a forward direction, implying he wanted to race.
According to another witness, Kirkpatrick came into the nearby Sprint store to pay his phone bill a short time after the crash. He told an employee that he was driving next to the Dodge involved in the crash, and that the driver wanted to race him, but he didn't because his truck was "too old."
Kirkpatrick also told co-workers in the days following the crash the people in the Dodge wanted him to race, but he didn't want to race them.
However, video surveillance obtained by Cedar Park Police shows the two trucks "traveling at accelerating speeds in a competitive attempt to outdistance each other," according to the affidavit.
The driver of the Nissan Rouge, Zara Salman, 31, was critically injured in the collision. Two children passengers -- Daniel Chaudhary, 1, and Elijah Chaudhary, 8 -- were declared dead at the scene. Daniel is Zara Salman's biological child, Elijah is her step-son, police said.
Hammer is already charged with two counts of racing on a highway causing death, a second degree felony. His truck, which struck Salman's vehicle, was totaled at the scene. Kirkpatrick's truck never stopped.