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North Texas Officer Driving At Least 80 At Time Of Crash

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WICHITA FALLS (AP) – A Wichita Falls police officer was speeding when his patrol car struck a vehicle occupied by two teenagers who were killed, according to an initial report.

The Texas Department of Public Safety report says evidence shows Officer Teddie Whitefield was driving at least 80 mph and “took no evasive action when a reasonable person would have.” The teens had stopped at a stop sign, then continued through an intersection when the patrol car struck the passenger side.

Yeni Lopez, 18, and 13-year-old Gloria Montoya, who were cousins, died in the June 30 accident. Lopez was pregnant.

The report says Whitefield had taken two different prescription medications earlier in the day. The medications were not specified, and DPS spokesman Tony Fulton told the Wichita Falls Times Record News that he did not know what the medications were.

A phone number for Whitefield could not immediately be found.

Fulton did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press on Thursday night.

The crash report does not assign blame, and DPS officials are continuing to investigate.

KAUZ-TV reported that, when the DPS finishes its investigation, the findings will be sent to the district attorney, and that process could take as long as six months.

The report also said that none of the people involved in the crash were wearing seat belts, and that air bags in both vehicles deployed.

The report indicates that Lopez, the driver of the second car, did not have a driver’s license and may have been distracted by a cellphone. The police officer also may have been distracted by something in his vehicle.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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