Department of Public Safety troopers says the family was traveling on Loop 259 just outside of Kilgore when a suspected drunk driver crossed into their lane and hit their van. DPS says 6-year-old Rudra Patel, and his 12-year-old sister Trish, were lying down in the backseat, not wearing seatbelts. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Their mother, Henna Patel was taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center. The hospital told KLTV that she was still listed in critical condition Saturday, but a family member has said that Patel passed away.
The children's father was driving the van, and tried his best to avoid the collision. Family members say Ketanbhai Patel is the picture of a broken man after the loss of his two children.
"It's a big loss for the family, they are so young," said Sunny Sheilesh, victim’s uncle.
After being released from the hospital Friday, Patel's brother Sunny Sheilesh tells us he still coming to terms with what happened. "He saw a bright light coming towards him with really high beams. He saw a big truck in his lane coming wrong way," Sheilesh said.
He says that vision hasn't left Patel's mind. "He's thinking about the kids and what happened, all of a sudden he realizes and then starts crying," Sheilesh.
Sheilesh says 6-year-old Rudra and 12-year Trish were both very smart and interested in electronics and rudra was a daddy's boy. "He loves his dad a lot and dad loves his boy a lot," Sheilesh said.
Sheilesh says the family was headed to Nashville and this weekend should have been a time of celebration because Friday would have been his nephew’s 7th birthday.
DPS says the driver of the truck going the wrong way, Shelby Taylor, has been charged with two counts of intoxicated manslaughter. DPS also says Taylor had a passenger in her truck at the time of the wreck. That passenger was treated and released from the hospital.
"[Drunken drivers] should not be on the road. They aren't thinking about the families or the other person," Sheilesh said.
In October of 2013 Taylor was arrested for driving while intoxicated. In 2010 Taylor was arrested four separate times for assault charges. In 2011 she was arrested five times for separate assault charges in June.