18-year-old charged, arrested for deadly crash in Cedar Park

Cedar Park police said two truck drivers racing on Whitestone Boulevard caused a crash that killed two children. One of the truck drivers has been arrested. 

Police identified the other truck driver involved on Friday, but did not release the name or any other details.

The crash happened around 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10 at the intersection of West Whitestone Boulevard and Walton Way. “In one split second, a decision that may seem harmless on the roadway from young and old alike can have life altering consequences,” said Commander Bryan Wukasch with the Cedar Park Police Department.

Cedar Park police said 18-year-old Hayden Hammer’s decision to race the other driver, whose name has not been released, in a Ford F-250 truck on Whitestone Boulevard caused a deadly wreck. Hammer, who police said was driving a Dodge Ram, crashed into a red Nissan Rogue that was turning onto Walton Way.

“Witness statements provided on scene indicated that the black truck was traveling at what was reported as a high rate of speed just prior to impact,” Wukasch said.

Although witnesses and first responders tried to save their lives, 8-year-old Elijah Chaudhary and 1-year-old Daniel Chaudhary died in the crash.

Daniel’s mother and Elijah’s stepmother Zara Salman is in critical condition at a local hospital.

“Our hearts and prayers remain with the Salman and Chaudhary family. They have been through a lot this week. They will continue to go through a lot,” said Wukasch.

Hammer has been arrested and charged with two counts of racing on a highway causing death. Both of those charges are second degree felonies. “Mr. Hammer has been cooperating with the investigation and, in an interview with investigators, admitted that he had been drag racing the red or maroon Ford truck prior to the collision,” Wukasch said.

Hammer also faces two previous charges out of Taylor County for theft and criminal mischief.

At the time of the crash he was out on bond for the theft charge.

Cedar Park police want to warn others about the dangers of driving recklessly. “This is a reminder to all motorists out there that racing on a highway can have severe consequences,” said Wukasch.

The case remains under investigation.

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