TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) - A woman is dead following a crash involving a Nash Police Department vehicle on the morning of Wednesday, March 17.
Clarissa Arriaga, 45, of Pasadena, Texas, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities. She was a passenger in an SUV. Her husband, Franciso Arriaga, 47, was the driver. He and their two children were sent to a Texarkana hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Officer Sostenes Sanchez was transported to another Texarkana hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He was driving a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria.
Everyone involved was wearing seat belts.
According to authorities, Arriaga was traveling northbound on Summerhill Road and failed to stop at a flashing red traffic light. His SUV was struck on the passenger side of his vehicle by Sanchez, who was traveling west on New Boston Road. The SUV was flipped on its top during the crash.
Nash Police Chief Kelly Dial says his heart goes out to the family and his coworker. Dial says after speaking with him, all he could think about was the family.
“His main concern was for the Arriaga family and their condition. Even when he was receiving treatment at the hospital, his first thought was to ask how they were doing,” he said.
He says wrecks like this impact the department.
“Tragic day for us. Anytime there’s a loss of life, it takes such a tremendous toll on the officers emotionally,” he said.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports more than 140,000 people were injured in red light crashes in 2019. Texarkana Public Information Officer Shawn Vaughn says it’s important to pay attention to flashing red lights and even yellow ones.
“Anytime that you approach a flashing red light like that, you want to treat it like a stop sign,” he said.
The crash remains under investigation.