March 18, 2021 — Just after 6:00 a.m., a San Angelo Police Department Traffic Officer who was conducting traffic enforcement near the 1300 block of South Bryant Boulevard observed a gray Chevrolet Equinox traveling south on S. Bryant exceeding speeds of ten (10) miles per hour above the posted speed limit.
The officer attempted to catch up to the Equinox in order to conduct a traffic stop; however, the Equinox accelerated, ran the red light at Avenue N, and collided with another vehicle. The secondary vehicle fled the scene.
The driver of the Equinox, a 17-year-old San Angelo resident who was ejected from the vehicle, was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of incapacitating injuries. Two of the Equinox’s four passengers succumbed to their injuries — a 16-year-old male was pronounced deceased at the scene and a 17-year-old female was later pronounced deceased at Shannon Medical Center. The remaining male passengers, ages 12 and 16, are currently undergoing treatment for incapacitating injuries. Justice of the Peace J.P. McGuire responded to the investigation.
Preliminary evidence recovered at the crash scene indicated the hit and run vehicle was a light-colored 2001-2005 Ford Escape Sport or Sport Trac. Upon learning the information, police issued a Citywide Nixle Alert for citizens to be on the lookout for the vehicle. Soon after, a citizen who had received the Nixle Alert observed a damaged tan-colored Explorer Sport Trac unoccupied and abandoned on the West Loop 306 Frontage Road near Knickerbocker Road. Officers responded to the vehicle’s location and noted that it had damage consistent with the crash. The vehicle was seized for processing.
Through follow-up investigation, the Department’s Traffic Unit and Criminal Investigations Division discovered information about the suspect’s identity and possible whereabouts. The driver, later identified as 24-year-old Benjamin Elder, was located at a residence in the 2500 block of A & M Avenue.
At the conclusion of the investigation, Elder was booked into the Tom Green County Jail for Accident Involving Death.
This is an ongoing investigation and no additional information is available for release at this time.