Stephen F. Austin University student killed in crash after driver runs red light at 80 mph


HOUSTON – A Houston family is mourning one child while praying another survives injuries after a weekend crash along Westheimer.

Ashlyn Rhodes, 21, and her 18-year-old brother, Kannin Williams, were headed out Saturday morning around 9 a.m. to buy new iPhones, their grandmother, Renee Murray, told Channel 2 News. 

READ: Man charged in 3-vehicle crash that left 1 dead, 2 injured

"When she pulled out to make a turn on the street is when the car was struck," Murray said. 

Houston police said 29-year-old Adokoe D. Akue was behind the wheel of a Hyundai that was eastbound on Westheimer at more than 80 mph as Rhodes was northbound on Brierwest Boulevard.

Investigators said Akue ran the red light, crashing into Rhodes's Volkswagen Jetta. 

She was pronounced dead at the scene, while Williams was rushed to the hospital with a skull fracture and other internal injuries. 

"Kannin has not regained consciousness. Right now we're hoping the swelling on his brain goes down," Murray said. 

The siblings were less than a mile away from home. So close that when their mother went out to run an errand a short time later, she came across the crash site as she was on the phone with Murray 

"She said, 'Oh my gosh there's so much traffic out here something must have happened, I'm sure someone may have even lost their life,'" Murray recalled her daughter telling her on the phone. 

"She said 'Let me call the kids and I'll call you back, I just want to make sure they're OK' and when she called me back she gave me the news that it was Ashlyn and Kannin," Murray said. 

Houston police arrested Akue and charged him with manslaughter and aggravated assault - serious bodily injury. Police said he is still in the hospital with a broken leg. 

Rhodes was a student at Stephen F. Austin University, studying to become a veterinarian. She was taking the semester off to work two jobs to earn more money to pay for school. 

"She was working at PetSmart, she loved working there. Dealing with the dogs was just her cup of tea. She had just started working at H-E-B and was excited about that. 

"God couldn't have blessed us with a more wonderful young lady," Murray said. 

Williams graduated from Alief Taylor High School last spring, and had just started his first job with plans to begin classes at Houston Community College in January. 

"We're just asking everybody to keep him in your prayers, keep the family in your prayers," Murray said. 

There is a GoFundMe account to help the family with funeral and medical expenses. You can donate here.

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