Abilene, TX - Abilene Police Detective Elise Ybarra was killed when a truck struck a car full of detectives on Sunday.
Abilene Police Detective Chris Milliorn and Abilene Police Detective Robert Collins were also seriously injured in the same crash.
The incident occurred on Sunday about 6:15 PM on eastbound I-20 at mile marker 26, according to KTXS. In a news conference, Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said all three detectives were on their way to the Crimes Against Children Conference in Dallas "when they encountered traffic moving at a slow pace, as there had been a vehicle crash ahead."
He said that Detective Ybarra, who was driving an unmarked detective's vehicle, "entered a line of slow-moving traffic. A short time later, an eastbound white Chevrolet pickup came upon the line of traffic that was slowed and collided with the detectives’ vehicle.”
The driver of the truck, who was not identified, "failed to control its speed", according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. He suffered incapacitating injuries and was transported to Hendrick Medical Center for treatment.
Detective Elise Ybarra died at the scene. Detective Milliorn and Detective Collins were transported to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene. Chief Standridge said that both did not appear to have life-threatening injuries. They remain hospitalized.
Detective Ybarra, age 33, previously worked for the Sedalia Police Department in Missouri. Chief Standridge said that she graduated from the Abilene Police Academy, and began working for the Abilene Police Department on November 21, 2014.
She served as a patrol officer for two years, and was then transferred to the Special Victims Unit on December 14, 2016. She worked there as a child abuse investigator.
"This loss impacts everybody. I can't imagine what these families will have to go through... It is my hope Elise's death awakens the heart of this city... She cared enough about our city that she went through our academy. She is a person who landed with both feet firmly planted in this department... The unit as well as Child Protective Services is going to feel the loss of Elise."
City Manager Robert Hanna said "Ybarra's name is added to the city's roll of honor, and that she served with 'honor and integrity'. There is never a good reason why these things happen."
Officer Ybarra is survived by her husband of eight years, Adam Ybarra, and their 10-month-old daughter.
The Texas DPS is conducting the investigation.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Detective Milliorn and Detective Collins. Get well, soon.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Abilene Police Officer Elise Ybarra, both blood and blue. Godspeed, ma'am, we will take the watch from here. Thank you for your service.
Officer Ybarra, your life mattered.