SEVIER COUNTY, Ark. (KSLA) — Criminal charges have been filed as a result of a collision in South Arkansas that claimed the lives of an East Texas schoolteacher, her husband and one of their daughters.
The Sevier County, Ark., prosecutor’s office has charged 25-year-old Justin Williams, of Taylor, Texas, with three counts of negligent homicide and one count of first-degree battery.
Killed in the collision Saturday afternoon on Arkansas Highway 41 at DeQueen, Ark., were 32-year-old Jessica Renae Kinney Baig, her husband, 35-year-old Mirza Baig, and their 9-year-old daughter, Lillian April Baig, all of Horatio, Ark.
Injured in the crash were Williams and the Baigs’ other daughter.
Both remain in the hospital, her at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and him at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana, Texas.
Williams will be formally booked when he is released.
“Well, we’ve had three grades affected by a loss or injury to a child, first grade, second grade and fifth grade,” McLeod, Texas, ISD Superintendent Cathy May told KSLA News 12 on Monday.
Jessica Baig taught first grade in the district’s elementary school. Her 9-year-old daughter was a fifth-grader at the same school. The surviving daughter is in the second grade.
Earlier this week, Baig’s first-grade classroom was locked and flowers, stuffed animals and a white bow had been as a memorial.
“The love in our district is unreal, even our staff and our students are supporting each other,” May said.
Local ministers were on campus Monday to to provide counseling to staffers and the district’s 400 students as needed.
Jessica Baig had only been with the school district for two months but already had left her mark, May said.
“I’ve had several tell me she touched them more in those few months than many people whom they have known all their lives. The kids loved her, clung to her.”
The school district is raising money to help the family with funeral and medical expenses.
“The outpouring has been unreal and overwhelming,” May said. “We know we are loved. And we feel the love and we are very thankful for that.”
Donations can be dropped off at the school district administration office at 19395 Farm-to-Market Road 125 in McLeod or mailed to McLeod Independent School District, P.O. Box 350, McLeod, Texas 75555.