18-year-old charged for racing crash in Cedar Park that left 2 children dead

Police in Cedar Park have charged 18-year-old Hayden Michael Hammer for a crash last week that left two children dead and a woman critically injured. (Photo courtesy: Williamson County Sheriff's Office)

(KEYE) -- Police in Cedar Park have charged an 18-year-old for a crash last week that left two children dead and a woman critically injured.

It happened Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the intersection of West Whitestone Boulevard and Walton Way, just west of Hwy 183.

Investigators say a 2008 Dodge Ram pickup truck was racing another truck in the westbound lanes of Whitestone Blvd. when it struck a 2016 Nissan Rogue turning left onto Walton Way.

The driver of the Nissan Rouge, Zara Salman, 31, is still in a coma at a local hospital. Two children passengers -- Daniel Chaudhary, 1, and Elijah Chaudhary, 8 -- were declared dead at the scene. Daniel is Zara Salman's biological child, Elijah is her step-son, police said.

One man who asked to remain anonymous says he heard the crash, and went to try and help.

"It's hard to hear, but it was out of my hands before it happened, and it's still out of my hands after it happened. We can only hope for the best," he said.

The driver of the pickup truck -- identified as Hayden Michael Hammer, 18 -- is charged with two counts of racing on a highway causing death, a second degree felony. Cedar Park Police say they were able to reconstruct the events of the crash using statements from witnesses and surveillance video.

Shane Prince lives nearby. He saw the aftermath of that crash, and says he is not surprised to hear Hammer was racing another truck right before the crash.

"There's no way he could be doing the speed limit and do that much damage," Prince said.

Prince also says speeding is an issue on West Whitestone Boulevard, also known as FM 1431.

Cedar Park Police Commander Bryan Wukasch says they arrested someone a few days ago on the same road for causing a crash while street racing.

With two young children dead and one woman still in critical condition, police are hoping this is an eye opener, and people know street racing is not just a fun, victimless crime.

"In one split second, a decision which may seem harmless on the roadway can have life altering consequences," Wukasch said.

Cedar Park Police say they have identified the driver of the second truck, but their name has not been released.

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