Killeen: Father of woman killed in crash calls for lower speed limits

(Photo courtesy: Tabonares family)
(Photo courtesy: Tabonares family)(KWTX)
Published: Jul. 18, 2017 at 8:48 AM CDT
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A Killeen man is fighting for justice and safer roads after his daughter was killed in a car wreck in June.

Maria Clarissa Tabonares, 23, known by close friends and family as “Clarissa,” was killed June 1 at the intersection of Bunny Trail and Stan Schlueter Loop in Killeen.

Tabonares was driving her BMW in the inside lane of Bunny Trail and attempted to turn left onto Stan Schlueter to head west.

A GMC Envoy in the middle lane was also turning in the same direction.

According to witnesses, the driver of a Nissan SUV ran a red light as Tabonares’ BMW and the GMC Envoy entered the intersection.

The front of the Nissan struck the driver’s side door of Tabonares’ BMW, which spun and struck the driver’s side of the Envoy.

Both the Nissan and BMW sustained major damage.

Tabonares was initially taken to Seton Medical Center Harker Heights and then flown to Scott & White Medical Center in Temple where she later died.

Killeen police said the investigation has concluded, and that the driver of the Nissan was cited for disregarding a red light, but Clarissa’s father, Efren, said that is not enough.

"What does it take to get the person penalized, if he or she killed somebody because she ran a red light? So that's my biggest frustration right now,” he said.

Tabonares said the pain of losing a child is something he never wants another parent to experience.

"Every time I open up something that reminds me of her beautiful soul, it just tears me up,” he said. “And I don't know, or understand how I'm still standing, but maybe because I wanted to fight for her justice."

Tabonares said he plans to petition for lower speed limits on several farm to market roads in Killeen.

He also said he wants to reach a higher penalty for the driver who crashed into his daughter’s car.

In the meantime, he’s asking drivers to slow down and pay attention to the roads.

"I don't understand why there's so many people in a rush,” Tabonares said.

“If you want to get to where you need to get going, then take some time."

Efren said Clarissa was studying psychology at Texas A&M, was involved in ROTC, and also taught dance classes at a Killeen school.