A 51-year-old Houston man was charged with intoxication-related manslaughter on Monday, June 12, 2017, for causing the death of a popular track coach and severely injuring his wife. The fatal collision occurred around 1:30 a.m., on Saturday, June 10, 2017, along the Sam Houston Tollway.
The couple had been making their way home from a wedding in the early morning hours on Saturday when their Mercedes was struck by the defendant’s F150 pickup. It was traveling in the northern direction in one of the roadway’s southbound lanes without its lights on at the time. The couples’ Mercedes was later struck by a second car causing a fireball.
A deputy from Precinct 5, that had been patrolling the area at the time, saw a cloud of smoke that resulted from the collision and rushed to the scene. With help from the public, the officer was able to remove the defendant from his burning vehicle. He remains in the hospital with critical injuries.
He was, however, unable to extract the Heights High School teacher as he was pinned inside of his car. He then turned his attention to the man’s wife, who he was successfully able to extract from the burning car. The officer lay her on the ground. She remains in a coma at the hospital.
After investigators arrived at the scene of the crash, they were able to identify what appeared to be several open cans of Bud Light in the defendant’s pickup truck. This prompted them to request that the man’s blood alcohol content (BAC) be tested. That number came back a .284, a number three times the state’s .08 legal limit.
Investigators later determined that the man had previously been charged with driving under the influence DUI in 2009. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the beloved teacher and coach’s drunk driving death.
Last year, there were more than 1,476 DUI arrests made among Harris County roadways. At least three fatal car crashes could be attributed to drunk driving. This couples’ accident was the third fatal alcohol-related crash thus far this year.
If your loved one has been injured or lost their life at the hands of a drunk driver, then a Houston motor vehicle accident attorney can help you understand your rights as it relates to filing either a wrongful death or injury claim.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Driver charged with intoxication manslaughter in wrong-way crash that killed Heights coach,” Brian Rogers, June 12, 2017