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Alcohol believed to be cause of accident

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SHERRY LONG
The Ellis County Press

ELLIS COUNTY - A female driving an SUV is suspected of being intoxicated when caused an accident along Interstate 45 northbound near Garrett on Friday, Oct. 3 at 8:20 p.m., Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Frost said.

Rachel Zapata, 29, died after being thrown from her car following the accident.

An SUV driven by Houston resident Katherine Koch, 51, hit Zapata as she moved from the center lane to the right hand lane striking Zapata's car, according to Frost.

After being struck by the other vehicle Zapata hit the guardrail, Frost said, causing her vehicle, a four-door Oldsmobile Alero, to flip over the guardrail rolling down the embankment until it came to rest head first in a pond.

Zapata was thrown from the car where she was found dead.

According to the state trooper. Koch's Ford Explorer turned sideways and rolled down the interstate before landing on the embankment near the service road.

Following the accident Koch was transported to Baylor Hospital in Dallas for possible internal injuries or broken bones, Texas Highway Patrol Sergeant Larry Adams said.

Frost said Koch was later released from the hospital following the treatment of her injuries.

'We believe the driver transported to the hospital was intoxicated,' Adams said.

Witnesses reported seeing toys designed for babies or toddler age children strewn near the vehicle, but no child was found near the wreckage, according to Adams.

Zapata was the sole occupant of the Alero, Frost said.

She also reported seeing a small dog walking across the interstate's southbound lanes toward the service road, shortly after the accident, although she said she was not sure if the small animal could have caused the accident.

After being raised in Bardwell, Zapata graduated from Ennis High School in 1992.

Following graduation Zapata pursued her educational career by taking courses at Cedar Hill Community College.

Zapata is survived by son Allen Bryce Benjamin; parents Simon and Maria Zapata; and two brothers Emiliano Zapata and Samuel Zapata.

Rosary was recited at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6 at the RE Keever Chapel, with a Christian burial at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7 at St. John's Catholic Church in Ennis.

She will be laid to rest at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Ennis.


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