A Stephenville woman was arrested Friday morning in connection with a deadly accident on Dec. 3 that claimed the lives of two young sisters.
Alyssa Litwin, 33, has been charged with eight felony counts related to the accident: Two counts of manslaughter, four counts of endangering a child, one count of aggravated assault and one count of tampering with evidence.
She was taken into custody Friday and transported to jail in Wichita Falls. If convicted, Litwin faces up to 20 years in prison.
“As district attorney, I generally do not comment in detail on pending charges. That being said, it is important for the drivers of Erath County to be warned that local prosecutors and law enforcement view cell phone use that takes one’s eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, as reckless,” District Attorney Alan Nash said in a statement. “The term reckless is significant because the law provides that operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner which causes death, bodily injury, or puts a child at risk, is criminal and will be treated that way.”
The accident, just three weeks before Christmas, killed five-year-old Codie and nine-month-old Charli Sackett.
According to the DPS accident report, Carrie Sackett, 33, had just picked up her daughter Codie, a kindergarten student at Morgan Mill School, and was heading home on U.S. Hwy. 281 just north of Morgan Mill when she was rear-ended by a Dodge pickup driven by Litwin.
The collision forced Sackett’s SUV into oncoming traffic and was struck on the passenger side by a Chevrolet pickup.
Both children died at the scene.
The official complaint against Litwin claims that she was using her cell phone at the time the crash occurred and had deleted text messages to try and hide that fact from investigators.
“A comprehensive forensic examination of Litwin's cell phone was performed on (Dec. 4) by Detective Jeremy Lanier of the Stephenville Police Department,” the complaint states. “Results of the forensic analysis reveal that Litwin was engaged in multiple iMessage exchanges and electronic communications through one or more smart phone applications in the minutes leading up to the time Litwin struck the 2017 GMC Acadia in which Carrie Sackett and her two young children were occupants.”
Carrie Sackett remains hospitalized in Fort Worth. She was reportedly moved last weekend from ICU to a regular room.
The Sackett family plans to hold a memorial service for the young sisters when their mother is released from the hospital.
“We should all be chastened by this horrific, completely avoidable catastrophe for the Sackett family and put our cell phones away when we are driving,” Nash said.