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Driver in wrong-way crash that killed two children charged with manslaughter

Shelby Taylor (Source: Rusk County Sheriff's Office) Shelby Taylor (Source: Rusk County Sheriff's Office)
GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Two young children were killed in a crash early Thursday morning that sent their parents to the hospital after police say a drunk driver hit the vehicle on Thursday night.

Kilgore police say they responded to a major crash on Loop 259 near Dudley Road just outside of the Kilgore city limits around 1 a.m. on Thursday. When they arrived they found that two children, 6-year-old Ryera Patel and 12-year-old Trish Patel, had been killed in the crash. The children's mother, Heena Patel, 43, was unresponsive and their father, Ketanbhai Patel, 42, was moving about in a daze.

During their investigation, the Department of Public Safety secured a DWI search warrant for 22-year-old Shelby Taylor, a Henderson resident, the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash. Taylor has now been arrested and charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter.

DPS troopers say say the family, traveling through the area from Central Texas, was driving northbound on Loop 259 in a minivan when the father spotted a oil field truck driven by Taylor heading southbound in the northbound lane. The father tried to take evasive action, but ended up striking Taylor's truck. The children were laying on blankets in the backseat of the van and were not wearing seatbelts.

The parents were taken to Good Shepherd Hospital in Longview where the mother is in critical condition in the ICU. Taylor was taken to a Kilgore hospital. A passenger in her car, Sara Furlong, was treated and released.

Taylor has a previous arrest on her record for DWI. She was arrested in Rusk County in October 2013. She also has past charges for assault causing bodily injury

The investigation into the crash is ongoing. The children's bodies were taken to Rader Funeral Home in Henderson.

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