CONROE- With less than a week until graduation and a full scholarship to the Air Force Academy, a Conroe High School senior and football star is dead as the result of a high speed crash. Police say street racing may have been involved.
Jordan Wilson, 17, was pronounced dead at Conroe Regional Medical Center. Wilson, a CHS Tigers defensive lineman, was named Most Valuable Player of the coaches' All-District 14-5A team, and honorable mention 2008 Class 5a All-State team.
Johnny O'Neal, 18, of Conroe was the driver. Police said he was walking and talking, but was taken to Hermann Hospital in The Woodlands by ground ambulance for non-life threatening injuries.
The crash occurred around 9:40 p.m. in the 1900 block of Airport Road near Byrdsong Ct. when the 2006 Ford Fusion sedan left the road, struck a culvert, became airborne then ripped through a brick and wrought iron fence before striking a tree.
The fence belongs to Saturnino and Martha Iracheta who said they were outside with their 3-year-old daughter watering plants at the time of the crash. Martha Iracheta said when the car exploded through her fence, debris went everywhere including in the direction of her family.
"I had to throw myself on my daughter because brick and pieces of metal with fire on them went everywhere," Martha Iracheta said.
The shaken mother said prior to the crash, she heard the speeding car approaching, then the squeal of brakes.
"Then I heard it hit (the culvert) and it was spinning in the air and then it hit the tree," Iracheta said.
On weekends, she said, Airport Road becomes a speedway with heavy traffic. It was the second time a teen driver crashed through her fence, she said. No one died in the prior incident.
Sgt. Jon Buckholtz of the Conroe Police Department said witnesses told officers the car was involved in a race and traveling at about 120 miles per hour before the crash occurred. Their preliminary accident investigation rated the car's crash speed at 100 miles per hour, but Buckholtz said they would be doing a reconstruction early next week which should yield more precise results.
According to witnesses, three cars were racing, Buckholtz said, and O'Neal's car had left the other two behind when it crashed. Only one person, a passenger in one of the other two vehicles, stayed to see if he could help Wilson and O'Neal. He then remained on-scene and answered the investigating officers' questions. When officers cleared the scene, they were attempting to locate the other occupants of the two cars that fled.
"We're not saying there was actual racing at the time of the crash, we want to get their side of the story," Buckholtz said.
The impact was so extreme that crash debris was strewn for hundreds of feet in every direction. The engine was propelled into a ditch on the opposite side of the roadway and the transmission landed in the middle of the street.
When O'Neal is released from the hospital he will be charged with manslaughter, Buckholtz said, which could be upgraded to intoxication manslaughter pending the outcome of mandatory blood testing. The alleged racing will be considered for additional charges, he said.
Montgomery County assistant district attorney Warren Diepraam responded to the crash site where he talked to investigators and closely examined the vehicle and the debris field. District Attorney Brett Ligon introduced the practice of having someone from his office go to the scene of fatal crashes and get a first-hand look instead of simply reviewing reports and photos at a later date.
Wilson would have turned 18 on June 7.