Identity released of Milby High School student who was killed when vehicle plunged into Brays Bayou

2 other teens who were inside the vehicle during the crash escaped safely, officials said

Here's what we know

HOUSTON – Emergency crews have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl who became trapped inside a vehicle that plunged into the Brays Bayou in east Houston Monday afternoon, according to Houston police.

Three teens - two girls and one boy - were traveling in a vehicle in the 100 block of Broadway, near Hockley Street, when the driver somehow lost control, went over the guardrail of the bridge and into the deep waters around 1 p.m. The principal of Milby High School was at the scene and confirmed to KPRC 2 that at least two of the occupants were students from the high school.

Water rescue underway after vehicle drives off bridge into Buffalo Bayou in east Houston, HPD says

HFD said the boy and one of the girls inside the vehicle managed to get free, while the other girl, identified as 16-year-old Emily Castilleja remained trapped. Police said one of the surviving teens was taken to a hospital with trauma to the arm and face, while the other did not seek treatment.

HPD Vehicular Crimes investigators also responded to the scene. The official cause of the crash is unknown, but police said the damage to the guard rail indicates speed may have been a factor.

The Milby High School softball team honored Castilleja with a balloon release Tuesday.

“It was devastating. Obviously, at first, I didn’t know who it was,” said Jose Chavez, a teacher at Milby. “It was sad to hear, and then I heard it was her, even more devastating because I had a pretty good relationship with her.”

Castilleja’s family was in attendance and overcome with emotions. During the release, Castilleja’s mom held a picture of her daughter, walked to the center of the softball field and wept.

Her classmate and teammate, Trinity Gonzales, also spoke at the balloon release.

“Yes, I had very funny moments where she would always pick my spirits up,” Gonzales said. “I was always mad and sad. She was always there for me. She was that person. She was the light of the team.”

Gonzales catches herself listening to old voicemails Castilleja left. In it, the softball left fielder didn’t shy away from telling her friends how much she cared.

“I was just in shock how she told me that she actually loved me,” Gonzales recalls. “So, I didn’t say it back because I was too in shock to reply to it. And then this morning, I had the courage to reply to it, but I just saw the message go green and my heart broke.”

Students and staff wore blue in Castilleja’s honor.


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