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Former police dispatcher charged in fatal crash involving Elgin High School grad

A former Elgin High School student died and two current students were injured in a car accident Friday, authorities said.

ELGIN, Texas -- The driver who has been charged with manslaughter after a recent Elgin High School graduate died in a car crash April 6 is a former dispatcher for Elgin police, the police chief confirmed to KVUE.

Late Friday night, school officials were told that Aldhair "Nano" Lopez, 19, was killed in the crash. He recently graduated from Elgin High School and worked at H-E-B. A man who worked with Lopez said his death was devastating news for the whole team.

"We're till trying to recoup," said Jessie Barrett, who worked with Lopez. "It's still kind of a blow to us. The fact that he's not there. The past couple of days have been really rough. It'll still be slow getting back in the pace of it and we're still tying to get over what actually happened."

He described Lopez as someone who could light up any room.

“Aldhair was just a beautiful person. You never saw him without a smile on his face. You couldn’t have asked for a better friend, family member, or coworker," said Barrett.

There were two other passengers -- identified as current students with Elgin Independent School District -- in the vehicle, school officials said. The students were taken to a hospital.

On April 10, police identified the driver as Terry Nelson, 59. She is currently being held at the Bastrop County Jail on a $120,000 bond, police said. Nelson worked as a dispatcher for the Elgin Police Department from September 2013 to August 2016, according to Elgin Police Department's chief of police.

Credit: Elgin Police Department
Terry Nelson

Elgin police told KVUE that the crash happened at the intersection of U.S. 290 and State Highway 95. Nelson was allegedly driving a white Mitsubishi at a high speed when police said she drove off the roadway and struck vehicles going southbound. That's when Lopez died and the two students were injured. Nelson has been charged with manslaughter, according to Elgin police. City officials confirmed to KVUE she has also been charged with driving while intoxicated.

According to court documents, Nelson was seen walking away from a vehicle involved in the crash and had to be chased down. Once detained, police said Nelson began speaking about Jesus Christ and God and seemed to have no regret about the crash.

Police reported that Nelson said she had not taken any drugs or consumed alcohol but she had an unbalanced walk and began to talk to herself. A warrant was issued for a blood test after she refused portions of a sobriety test.

EHS principal Ricardo Reyes detailed in a letter plans to have counselors and trained professionals available to respond to the needs of the students, staff and families starting Monday and continuing throughout the week.

According to the letter, the EHS prom was scheduled for Saturday night, and after discussion and deliberation, the prom was scheduled to continue as planned with a moment of silence to remember Lopez.

"We believe that bringing our students together is a way to begin the healing process for such a tragedy," Principal Reyes said.

Here's information about Lopez's funeral set for April 10 at 10 a.m.

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