FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – They were just two drivers, on the same stretch of road, who crossed paths because of a tragic and unforeseen circumstance.
Wednesday night the driver of a tow truck slammed into a car carrying a mother and her two daughters. Their vehicle had stalled in the middle of the road.
The accident happened along the service road of the Sam Rayburn/121 Tollway, near Spring Creek in Frisco.
Of the three inside the stalled car, nine-year old Macie Hooten didn’t survive.
Thursday the driver who rear-ended the family spoke openly to CBS 11 News.
“I feel so bad. I hope [the] parents are able to deal with what happened and I pray for them,” driver Reza “Ray” Sheybem said in anguish.
Sheybem, 49, calls the incident an “unforeseeable accident”, but says he still carries the guilt of Macie’s death.
It was just before 9:30 p.m. on June 9 when Sheybem says he was making his last run for Dadash Towing. It was along a stretch of the southbound 121 Tollway service road that two families lives were forever altered.
“I was going 45-50 [mph], somewhere around there and then all of a sudden, I saw that car. There was no lights whatsoever. It was so dark… completely dark,” recalled Sheybem.
The driver says, “There was no time to stop or miss it completely. [Their] car was stopped in the center lane — no lights, no nothing, no city lights. No hazard lights from car.”
Sheybem says he tried desperately to miss the stalled vehicle, but hit the left corner of the car.
Macie was sitting in the backseat and took the brunt of the impact. Her 12-year-old sister and 32-year-old mother were also injured and taken to the hospital. Thursday afternoon only the mother remained hospitalized, but she is expected to recover.
Frisco police questioned Sheybem and an initial investigation found he was neither driving impaired or speeding.
As one family mourns the loss of their little girl Sheybem struggles to find his own peace. Before his voice wandered and he began to sob Sheybem said quietly, “I had no sleep whatsoever last night – keep thinking about the kids. I’m so sorry for that parent. I’m so sorry for that kid, but I never planned for that…”
Frisco police say they’re still investigating the accident and trying to determine if the Hooten car had the hazard lights on and what caused the vehicle to stall.
Macie’s sister, Violet, posted a comment early Thursday on CBSDFW.COM. In it she said that she’s okay and only has a slight concussion. She ended the comment by saying “Thank you. I love you Macie. Always.”