Rickala Chaffold, 24, was charged with manslaughter in the death of 16-year-old Atreyu "Trey" Gowen of Mesquite

By Jeff Truesdell
May 31, 2021 01:27 PM
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Rickala Chaffold
Rickala Chaffold
| Credit: Dallas Police Department

A Texas high school teacher who killed one motorcyclist and seriously injured another in a car crash was traveling at a speed of 117 miles per hour behind the wheel of her vehicle before the fatal collision, authorities allege.

The teacher, 24-year-old Rickala Chaffold, was arrested following the crash on the LBJ TEXpress, or Interstate Highway 635, and has now been charged with manslaughter.

The incident happened about 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 22, reports The Dallas Morning News.

According to an police incident report obtained by the online news site InForney.com, Chaffold, a teacher at Forney High School, was driving a 2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA with multiple motorcycles traveling ahead of her on the three-lane westbound interstate when she made contact with two motorcycles in the left lane.

One of the cyclists, identified by Dallas police as 16-year-old Atreyu "Trey" Gowen of Mesquite, was pronounced dead at the scene. A second cyclist, 28-year-old Paul Arnett of Dallas, was seriously injured.

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Both motorcyclists were determined to be traveling at a speed of about 72 miles per hour at the time of the crash, according to the police report.

But six seconds before the crash, Chaffold was traveling at 117 miles per hour, according to investigators who reached that conclusion based upon video surveillance and the time and distance covered by Chaffold's vehicle, according to the crash report.

Chafford was arrested March 15 at the high school, reports InForney.com.

Without identifying the suspect, Kristin Zastoupil, a spokesperson for the Forney Independent School District, told the outlet: "Upon learning of the incident and charges, the person was immediately placed on administrative leave."

Chafford has worked for the district since August 2020. An attorney who might soeak on her behalf was not immediately identified.

CBS DFW reports that a grand jury indictment charging Chafford with manslaughter alleged that she was "operating a motor vehicle at an unsafe speed and a speed not prudent for the conditions."