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Capital murder trial scheduled this week in Bowie County

Man accused of intentionally crashing truck into van last year, killing two boys on highway in DeKalb, Texas by Lynn LaRowe | January 17, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.
ZACHARY BLAISE SALAZAR

NEW BOSTON, Texas -- Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning at the Bowie County courthouse for a man accused of killing two young boys in an intentional head-on crash between his truck and a van last year in DeKalb, Texas.

Zachary Blaise Salazar, 22, was allegedly upset about a situation with his girlfriend when he left her home in DeKalb and made a threat to "go wreck" the night of Jan. 13, 2021, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Within minutes of Salazar's departure the girlfriend and her family traveled from their residence toward the sound of sirens and flashes of emergency lights on a stretch of nearby U.S. Highway 82.

Three-year-old James Crowley and 7-year-old Riley Burgess, passangers in a van, were pronounced dead at the scene.

A witness, who was pulling into a fast food restaurant when the deadly crash occurred, said he saw the pick-up driving at a high rate of speed with its bright lights on in the eastbound lane of the highway before it crossed into the westbound lane and collided with the van.

The driver of the van told officers that when he saw Salazar's pickup coming into his westbound lane he attempted to avoid a crash by pulling to the edge of the roadway but "Salazar continued tracking his vehicle until causing the collision," the affidavit states.

Because the state is not seeking the death penalty, Salazar faces life without the possibility of parole if found guilty of capital murder. Under Texas law a person may be charged with capital murder if they intentionally kill two or more people during the same criminal episode or in the killing of a person under 10 years of age. Salazar faces two to 20 years if convicted of any of four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon related to injuries suffered by other occupants of the van.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston. Opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday afternoon after a jury is seated.

Salazar is represented by Texarkana lawyer Jeff Harrelson. First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards are prosecuting.

Salazar is being held in the Bowie County jail with bails totaling $5.4 million.

Print Headline: Capital murder trial scheduled this week in Bowie County

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