Teen passenger killed in crash involving underage driver in Conroe

Investigators: Teen in passenger's seat killed

By Courtney Gilmore - Anchor/Reporter , Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter , Mary Cuervo

CONROE, Texas - State troopers are trying to figure out what charges will be filed after a deadly crash involving an underage driver in Conroe.

Anthony Gomez, 15, was killed in the wreck. Investigators say 14-year-old Yaelyn Garza was behind the wheel of the car.

"He was really kind and really lovely. He was unique. He had a good personality,"said his friend, Vanessa Aguilar.

The families of the victims are close and they live just a block away from each other. Officers say the driver lost control at an intersection after she blew through the stop sign.

Those that knew Gomez say he loved to make his friends and family smile. But now for his father the memory of his son brings him to tears. According to detectives, Gomez was sitting in the passenger seat of a red Mazda when the car slammed into a tree.

His grandmother says she saw Gomez leave with his friend at around 10 p.m. to move the car from the street back into the driveway. She assumed both would be right back.

Tragically that was the last time she saw him. Gomez got in the passenger side, and the 14-year-old girl he was with grabbed the keys and took off.

"All I heard was a car racing," said neighbor Barbara Luther.

Moments later neighbors heard the car speeding down White Oak Orchard.

"It was bad, it was really bad," said Luther.

Then several residents say they heard the sound of tires screeching as the teen girl tried to brake. But according to officers she lost control and crashed. Gomez's body was partially ejected from the car.

"It would have killed me, if it was my kid," Luther said.

Someone placed flowers at the crash scene for Gomez. The family will have to plan his memorial service.

"He really didn't deserve to go away like that," Aguilar said. 

Gomez's mother lives in Honduras. The family is now trying to raise money to send his body back to his mom so she can see him before he is buried.

Garza was taken to the hospital, but she later went home. Officers tell us charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.

Garza's attorney tells Local 2 that according to the teen's mother, she was not driving the car.

Troopers say the airbag on the passenger side did not deploy, and after further investigation was found to be missing.

According to DPS, Texas drivers must be 16 years old to get a driver's license. At age 15, they can apply for a Learner's License or a Hardship License.

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