Houston police have opened their ongoing investigation surrounding a fatal accident last June to the media. According to the police, the driver in that fatal crash was driving while intoxicated (DWI) but was not arrested. Police have now charged him with three counts of intoxication assault, one count of intoxication manslaughter, as well as other DWI offenses, and want to spread the word of the investigation in order to find the suspect.
Intoxication Charges filed Nine Months Later
The accident that has spawned the investigation happened at 10 p.m. on June 8, 2018, in northwestern Houston. According to the police reports, a Ford F-150 was northbound on Wirt Road. At the intersection with Hammerly Boulevard, the driver turned left on a flashing yellow light. A Honda Civic with three children in the car was in the southbound lane. The pickup truck hit the Civic head-on.
It is unclear from reports whether the driver of the Ford F-150 was arrested at the scene and later was released or was never apprehended in the first place. Police have stated that the driver of the pickup truck remained on the scene after the accident, passed field sobriety tests and provided a blood sample.
That blood sample revealed a blood alcohol content (BAC) under the legal limit of 0.08% as well as trace amounts of marijuana.
Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter Charges for Suspect
Now, nearly a year after the accident, Houston police announced in a press conference that they were seeking the public's help in apprehending the suspect in the crash. Because the driver was under the influence of both drugs and alcohol, the incident became a DWI offense.
The implications are significant: the pickup truck has gone from facing a ticket for failing to yield the right-of-way to facing six felony DWI offenses. The most severe count – the intoxication manslaughter charge from the death of the 11-year-old in the other vehicle – carries between two and 20 years in jail. The others carry between two and 10 years in jail for a conviction.
Huge Delay in Filing Charges Raises Eyebrows
In their press conference regarding the accident, Houston police responded to a question about the delay in filing charges. Their response, though, focused on the fact that there was a crash, not whether the suspect was intoxicated. In fact, in their press conference, the police admitted that the BAC in the suspect's blood test showed that he was under the legal limit for drunk driving. Instead, they claimed that “when you take into conjunction the marijuana” together with the BAC, it created a DWI offense.
Houston DWI Defense Lawyer Doug Murphy
This case just highlights the stark penalties of a felony DWI offense as well as the problems associated with detecting drugged driving. Defending against these and similar charges are critical and can be done, particularly with the help of a DWI defense lawyer like Doug Murphy. Contact him online or call his law office at (713) 229-8333 if you have been arrested and charged with DWI in Houston.