CLYDE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An Abilene police officer was killed in a crash on I-20 near Clyde Sunday evening.
The Abilene Police Department has confirmed Detective Elise Ybarra was killed during a crash while she and two other detectives, Robert Collins and Chris Milliron, were their way to Dallas for the Crimes Against Children Conference.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said Detective Ybarra was driving slowly down the eastbound lanes of the interstate due to traffic from a previous accident when her car was struck by another vehicle, which was traveling at highway speed just after 6:00 p.m..
Detective Ybarra was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash. She leaves behind her husband and 10-month-old baby girl.
Detective Collins and Detective Milliron were both transported to Hendrick Medical Center for treatment.Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
During a press conference, Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said the Department is “devastated” over the loss of Detective Ybarra, who began her career in Law Enforcement in Sedalia, Missouri, before moving to Abilene where she became a detective with the Special Victims Unit.
He said he was immediately struck by Detective Ybarra’s desire to serve the City since becoming a member of the force in November of 2014. She had a profound impact on this community, according to Chief Standridge, who says her loss affects everyone, from her fellow department members, to her family, to the citizens she served every day.
Chief Standridge met with pastors prior to the conference, and he says one of the things they discussed was the impact Detective Ybarra’s death could have moving forward, especially on the heels of several acts of violence across the City over the past few weeks.
“May Elise’s death awake the heart of this City,” Chief Standridge said. “We’ve had enough pain. We’ve had enough tragedy.”
He went on to plea to the citizens of Abilene, saying, “I would hope that you would stand beside the police department as we grieve the lives of one of our own.”
City Manager Robert Hanna also spoke during the conference, saying that it’s never easy to add a name to the list of law enforcement personnel killed in the line of duty, and he, as City Manager, is asking that everyone pray for the families of the officers injured Sunday night, especially for Detective Elise’s husband and daughter.
The conference concluded with a prayer from Pastor Chuck Farnia with New Hope Church, who wanted to remind citizens that tragedies like these are a “call to unity. . . a call to prayer”. He’s asking the community to make this a time to “come together and pray” for the Abilene Police Department and all the other lives Detective Ybarra impacted.
The Abilene Police Foundation told KTAB and KRBC they will be addressing the needs of Detective Ybarra’s family as well as the families of Detective Collins and Detective Milliron in the coming days, and any updates, including what is needed and how to donate, will be posted to AbilenePoliceFoundation.org.