Court hearing delayed for man connected to deadly Tulsa traffic accident

Thursday, November 17th 2005, 10:07 am
By: News On 6

A family who lost their loved one in a fiery crash on Tulsa’s Riverside Drive came face to face Thursday with the man Tulsa Police say is responsible for her death. 24-year-old Joshua Buswell faces a manslaughter charge for the wreck three weeks ago.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan talked with the victim’s family.

Joshua Buswell walked out of court, under a $50,000 bond, but otherwise a free man. While he will be home for the holidays, there will be no Thanksgiving this year for the family of Hilda DeLavega. She died in a car wreck, Tulsa Police say Buswell allegedly caused.

Her family says the wreck was no accident. Victim’s stepson Marty Ward: "But to choose to go out and get drunk and drive 85 miles an hour down Riverside where it's 45, I call that murder."

Witnesses told police Buswell's truck sped past them and rear-ender DeLavega's car. The impact broke her neck, and pushed the smashed car 500 feet down the road, with a trail of fire behind it. DeLavega's body burned in the car, as helpless bystanders watched.

She was a home health care nurse, a Mexican immigrant on her way home from an English class. Three years ago, she married a man from Peggs, and a whole family fell in love with her. Marty Ward: "She was a great person and he not only killed her, but he took a big chunk out of all our lives and the hardest thing I've ever had to do was tell my dad she was killed in a car wreck and then go tell my children."

According to Tulsa Police records, Buswell had "the odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech." The blood test results are pending, but police say Buswell told them he spent four hours drinking and eating at a nightclub before the crash. A bartender told Tulsa Police "Buswell is there every day writing in a book and drinking beer." The bartender at "Cosmo" told police, Buswell was there by 4:30 the afternoon of the wreck, which happened at 8:45 PM.

Buswell is 24, with only one prior ticket for speeding. Even though Tulsa Police suspect he was drunk, he was arrested for manslaughter. Other charges could be filed later as the investigation continues.