Hays CISD student killed in fiery crash

A Hays High School student has been identified as the victim of a fiery off-roading crash.

Josh Otto was 16-years-old. The driver of the vehicle is in jail charged with DWI.

Wednesday morning, Skip Bartek was one of several people who stopped by the site of the crash that took the life of 16-year-old Josh Otto.

"I wanted to come out here and try and bring some closure to myself," said Bartek.

Bartek's says Otto was his daughter's boyfriend.

"He was very polite, very genuine, just a good kid," said Bartek.

Police say on Tuesday night, Otto and two other teens went off-roading in an SUV driven by 28-year-old John Ramirez. Somehow the vehicle flipped and burst into flames in a field behind the Southpark Meadows shopping center.

Everyone made it out except Otto who was trapped in the front seat.

Ramirez was arrested for DWI.

Officers say Ramirez told them he was drinking at the red shed tavern before meeting the teens to go off-roading. He says he had three Miller Lites, but officers say he lied at first about having anything to drink.

TABC is investigating to determine if staff at the bar made any violations that may have contributed to the tragic event.

The loss weighs heavy on Hays CISD students and staff.

"It's shocking. It's upsetting. There aren't any words to describe it. You just don't expect someone so young to leave us so soon," said Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy.

Otto was a junior at Hays High School. His mom is a first grade teacher with the district. She has another son who is in middle school. Crisis counselors are on each campus.

Otto's death makes the 6th current/former student to die since October.

"Each death by itself is traumatic. One is too many," said savoy.
 

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