Report Says Wrong Way Driver in Highway 84 Accident was on Prescription Medication

The Department of Public Safety released a preliminary report saying Jeffrey Howard was on prescription medication and that could have caused his deadly head-on collision.
By: Meredith Hillgartner

LUBBOCK,TX- The Lubbock Department of Public Safety on Monday released a preliminary report from a deadly head-on collision on Highway 84 that killed Patricia Mendez, 62, and her granddaughter Ava Lucia McWhirter, 8.

On July 14, several people called 911 after they saw Howard driving west in the eastbound lane of Highway 84 near Anton. Howard crashed into Mendez's vehicle just after 9:00 am, killing the grandmother and her grand daughter. Howard's vehicle caught on fire and he was airlifted to a Lubbock hospital with moderate injuries.

The accident report said, Jeffrey Howard, 51, of Wolfforth, "had lost his normal use of mental and physical faculties due to the ingestion of prescribed medication."

The McWhirter family attorney, Tommy Turner, said he spoke with Howard briefly. The man said he felt bad for the what has happened, but has no recollection of the accident.

Turner said the investigation is still ongoing and he anticipates criminal charges to be filed against Howard. Turner said he believes DPS is waiting for a toxicology report before they will close their investigation.

"I'm just guessing, but probably the delay is caused by the DPS waiting on the blood toxicology results," Turner said. "That takes a while." made calls to the family and the local DPS office. We will have more for you tonight at 6.
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