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White Settlement crash: Deceased teen, injured father identified as Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD student, teacher

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD sent a letter to families that the father is one of their teachers. His daughter was an incoming senior at another high school.

WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas — An incoming high school senior has died and her father is seriously injured after a pickup truck crashed into their house in White Settlement on Sunday afternoon, police said.

Police said they responded to the crash on Jason Court in a neighborhood near West Loop 820 and Interstate 30.

Police said the driver of the pickup, which was pulling a trailer, lost control, entered a backyard and then crashed through multiple bedrooms of the house.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD identified the victims in a letter sent to families about the incident.

The teen, who was identified as Katey Kirkland, died at the scene, police said. According to the district, Katey was going to be a senior at Saginaw High School. Classes are set to start next Monday.

Her father, Boswell High teacher Kevin Kirkland, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. 

Katey's mother, Saginaw High teacher Amy Kirkland, was also inside the home at the time but was not seriously injured.

David Sosa arrived moments after the crash and ran inside to try to help. 

“I was just holding him and since he had a whole bunch of blood, he kept slipping through my hands until the cops showed up and helped me get him out of there," Sosa said. "At the time we didn’t know someone was trapped under the truck.”

A neighbor said the truck crashed through her wooden fence twice and took out a 20-foot tall tree before crashing through an outer and inner wall in the Kirkland's home. 

Fatima Torres Martinez was at work when she heard the news about her neighbor. Kevin Kirkland was also her former math teacher.

“I didn’t know what to do. I immediately just started crying," she said. “He was super happy, and he would always wave at me and I just can’t imagine how he’s not going to be the same and his family’s not going to be the same anymore.”

"Our district crisis counselors have already begun providing support to the family, and they will be on site at Saginaw High School today to provide care and support for staff members who are on campus for professional development," wrote Boswell High principal Nika Davis. "We also have a crisis team here at Boswell that is prepared to support staff and students in any way needed."

Police said the driver of the pickup truck, later identified as 63-year-old Donald Gruber, was arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault. Police said he had multiple prior DWI convictions. 

A female passenger who was inside the pickup told officers they had been drinking prior to the crash, police said.

"We’ve been in conversation with the school district to make sure they have awareness because no doubt this will affect a lot of people, not only here in our community but across North Texas," White Settlement Police Chief Chris Cook said.

Sosa returned to the home Monday to lay flowers in the front yard. 

“I know flowers ain’t going to do anything but it’s just for myself," he said. 

“Nobody deserves this," Martinez said. "I don’t know why it happened, but they didn’t deserve it either.”

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