Police finish reconstruction of Texas crash that killed 4 Ontarians

Police in Kyle, Texas, have finished a crash reconstruction, but aren't yet releasing the results of their investigation into a three-vehicle accident Friday morning that left four people from Kitchener, Ont., dead.

Section of highway where crash happened known for accidents, city spokeswoman says

Four Ontarians are dead following collision in Texas in which a car hit their minivan while driving in the wrong direction on the highway. (KVUE TV)

Police in Kyle, Texas, have finished a crash reconstruction but aren't yet releasing the results of their investigation into a three-vehicle accident on Friday morning that left four people from Ontario dead.

Margaretha Wall Hildebrandt, 27, Heinrich Martens, 31, Gerhard Hiebert Peters, 30, and 16-month-old Jacob Wall Hiebert died at the scene of the crash on Interstate 35, south of Austin. Two Ontario girls who survived the crash were taken to hospital.

Kyle police shut the highway on Sunday morning to re-create the accident, which they say was set off by a vehicle travelling the wrong way.

"We have a seven-member crash team that is highly-trained and specialized in just this kind of a thing. And so they shut the highway down for four hours, they did all the work there, but now it takes time to go back and plug in all the math and the numbers, it's sort of like number-crunching," said Kim Hilsenbeck, a spokeswoman for the City of Kyle. 

But Hilsenbeck said that findings from the reconstruction won't be available for some time. 

"It's definitely not a fast thing, it doesn't happen overnight and they are doing that in addition to all their regular law enforcement duties, so we may not see anything for weeks or potentially even a few months, just based on past experience." Hilsenbeck said.

"We'd rather do it right and well and have no doubt or possible bad information when it comes to whether or not charges may ... be filed against the driver, we want to be sure we have it right," she said. 

Crash 'devastating' for first responders

"This was extremely devastating for everybody involved. Even our first responders, it was horrific. And imagine being out there on the scene at 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning and knowing there's a child that's sixteen months old that's died as a result of this accident," Hilsenbeck said. "It was absolutely horrendous for everyone involved."

Police said a Honda civic was travelling the wrong way in the northbound lane of the highway when it hit the minivan that the Ontario residents were in, as well as a pickup truck. 

The driver of the Civic was taken to hospital in Austin in critical condition. 

Martens, the 31-year-old killed in the crash, and baby Jacob are Canadian citizens, while Margaritha Wall Hildebrant is a permanent resident of Canada and a Mexican citizen.

Gerhard Hiebert Peters had been living in Maxwell, Ont., a small community just outside Collingwood. The two young girls who survived the crash are now in the custody of relatives who came to the hospital in pick them up.

According to Hilsenbeck, the section of I-35 near Kyle is known for accidents. 

"It's not a great section of highway, there are a lot of accidents in this region, between about San Antonio and Dallas, its apparently one of the most dangerous sections of highway in the country," she said. "We see lots of accidents that are maybe a rollover, maybe an 18-wheeler tips, that kind of thing, but to have four folks die in the same accident is very, very unusual."

with files from Andrea Bellemare


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