MIDLOTHIAN — More than 400 young people showed up at Kimmel Park on Monday night as part of a vigil for Kindle Smith, 16, who died this weekend in an automobile accident.
Smith died from injuries she received when the car she was driving was hit head-on by a pickup truck, according to authorities, who have alleged the driver of the other vehicle was alcohol-impaired.
“This is like a huge storm that has erupted in all our lives,” said the Rev. Dave Wyrtzen. “It’s dark and we don’t understand why this has happened in our lives.”
Wyrtzen urged those gathered to rely on their faith and each other.
The group lit candles, sang songs and listened as people stepped to the microphone to remember Smith. And they cried.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving victim advocate Suzette Pylant said grieving is part of the process any community goes through when a tragedy of this proportion hits.
“There is no expiration date on grief and there really is no such thing as closure when a parent loses a child,” Pylant said. “We have been told the person who hit Kindle may have been alcohol-impaired and they could get up to 20 years in prison. Sadly, the family and friends of Kindle Smith have been given a life sentence of grief and loss.”
A sophomore at Midlothian High School, Smith was pronounced dead at Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie at 12:07 a.m. Sunday by Justice of the Peace Jackie Miller Jr.
“All of us took it really hard at the hospital,” Miller said. “It affected all of us. She was only five months older than my daughter and it hit me really hard. … I think about my own daughter driving.”
Miller said the accident took place between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Saturday on Farm-to-Market 1387 at Hayes Road.
Smith was westbound in a 1996 Toyota when her vehicle was struck head-on by an eastbound Ford F250 pickup, Miller said, saying Smith was transported by ground ambulance to Baylor, where she died from massive lower torso and head injuries.
Midlothian police Capt. Don Cole said the accident was discovered by a Midlothian police officer on patrol.
“One of our officers came upon the accident right after it happened,” he said.
A passenger in Smith's vehicle also was injured and transported to a local hospital, with Cole saying the 15-year-old female has since been released from the hospital.
The name of the passenger was not released.
The pickup’s driver, Jesus Guijarro Fraire, 22, of Midlothian, was transported to the hospital, where he was treated and released to Midlothian police. Fraire was taken into custody on charges of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault, Cole said.
Fraire was arraigned Monday morning at Wayne McCollum Detention Center, with bond set at $100,000 on the intoxication manslaughter charge, which is a second-degree felony. Bond was set at $20,000 on the intoxication assault charge, which is a third-degree felony.
Fraire also has been placed under a hold by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Police said Monday night that Fraire is believed to be in the country illegally.
The Texas Department of Public Safety assisted at the scene of the accident.
Family and friends will gather at Midlothian Funeral Home on Wednesday night for visitation. Smith’s funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church of Midlothian.
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