Mother of son killed by street racer in Cedar Park helps families navigate legal system
CEDAR PARK, Texas - A mother whose son was killed by a street racer in Cedar Park is supporting other families. She’s helping them navigate the legal system after having to do so herself.
"I don't really even call it the justice system. I just call it the legal system because it really is not just, in most cases, your child is just another number," Tansy Silva said.
Tansy Silva said that’s how she felt while she was just trying to get justice for her son and his stepbrother. On Jan. 10, 2018, two men, Hayden Hammer and Blake Kirkpatrick, were racing their vehicles down 1431 in Cedar Park.
"My son had been picked up by his stepmother from school, and we believe she was headed towards Walmart, and she was turning left on a yellow blinking light on Walton Way in 14 31," Silva said.
They were T-boned.
"He was driving a Ram 2500 with a cattle guard," Silva said.
Eight-year-old Elijah Chaudhary and one-year-old Daniel Chaudhary were killed.
Elijah Chaudhary, 8, and Daniel Chaudhary, 1, were killed by a street racer in Cedar Park back in 2018.
"It takes a long time for your brain to catch up to the fact that he’s not there anymore and that you’re not going to see him again," Silva said.
She said she turned to the Christi Center, a nonprofit in Austin that provides grief support.
"From the first meeting that we went to, I saw people that had gone through similar circumstances and made it through on the other side and I thought, well, if they can do it, I think I can do it, too," Silva said.
While dealing with the loss, Silva was also dealing with the legal system.
"The accused have lots of rights. They have that whole court process and an appeal process and even in jail they have rights. From the victims’ standpoint, from the families, it's difficult, very difficult. It definitely feels like the system is against you from the get-go," Silva said.
Almost two years after the crash, they went to trial.
"The young man who hit them had a lot of prior pending cases in different counties throughout Texas. He was actually out on bond when this happened," Silva said.
Hammer was handed down a sentence of seven years in prison and 10 years of probation. Kirkpatrick was given 10 years of probation.
"In the case of racing, nobody wins, even if you win, you don’t win," Silva said.
A mother whose son was killed by a street racer in Cedar Park is supporting other families. She’s helping them navigate the legal system after having to do so herself.
The man who killed Silva’s son will spend less time in jail than the number of years her son was alive. She advocated at a recent parole hearing for him to stay there.
"Educate families about their rights and how to approach the district attorney, how to understand that court process, because on top of grieving and going through all these other crazy things, you're dealing with the layers of the legal system," Silva said.
Silva also works with juveniles and their parents.
"I volunteer because if I could possibly reach out and prevent a juvenile from, throwing the rest of her life away by going to jail or whatever it is, prevent it, maybe give a little bit of a wakeup call, to see what really happens," Silva said.
If Hammer had made a different decision on that day, Elijah and Daniel might still be here today.