Fatal Cedar Park crash sentence criticized

Seven years in prison was the sentence handed down Monday by a Williamson County jury to a man who killed two children during a road racing incident last year.

Hayden Hammer was facing up to 20 years in prison, but after almost three hours of deliberations the jury sentenced him to seven years. The jury also placed him on probation for 10 years, which will run at the same time as the prison sentence.

It is designed to be a preventative measure if Hammer gets an early release.

The father of one of the victims expressed disappointment in the type of message the jury sent with its verdict.

"Those who represented the community on that jury panel determined that seven-year sentence is sufficient for the lives of two children, and a mother with brain damage and physical impairments,
and serious bodily injury that's the message I'm hearing," said Roland Silva.

The fatal crash happened in Cedar Park on January 10, 2018. Hammer smashed his truck into a vehicle driven by Zara Chaudhary. She survived, but her one-year-old son Daniel was killed as well as her eight-year-old stepson Eli.

Tancy Silva, Eli's mother, was visibly upset with the verdict. The man who killed her son will spend less time in jail than number of years her son was alive. Silva also had harsh words for the message she believes the jury sent.

"Racing on the highway causing death or serious bodily injury or death is OK, as long as they're not their children," said Tancy Silva.

Hayden Hammer will be eligible for parole in three-and-a-half years.

A trial date for the man whom he was allegedly racing with has not yet been set.