Deputies hurt, prisoner killed in wrong-way crash with suspected drunk driver on Westpark Tollway
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Two Harris County Sheriff's deputies were injured and the man they were taking to jail was killed after they were hit head on by a wrong-way driver in west Harris County.

Investigators believe that wrong-way driver was also drunk.

Authorities say the deputies were going eastbound on the Westpark Tollway at Synott around 11:30 p.m. Sunday when the suspect slammed his Lexus into their patrol vehicle.

The prisoner in the backseat of the patrol unit was pulled over earlier in the night for allegedly being impaired and was being taken to jail. Officials say he had on a seat belt, but died from his injuries on the way to the hospital.

The deputies were transported to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital.

Their conditions have not been released, but we are told they're expected to survive.

The wrong-way driver was also taken to the hospital with a broken leg.

Officials with the Harris County District Attorney's Office say he has a history of DWIs.

"This suspect, the one who was driving the wrong way, has been charged with felony murder because this is more than his third DWI conviction. He has convictions from numerous states," said Sean Teare with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

"It's 11:30 at night. These officers are doing their job, protecting us from other people, putting their lives on the line. This is not okay," Teare continued. "This individual... wasn't like a wrong turn. Heard he was going the wrong way for quite a while before he hit these three people."

Authorities say more charges could be coming, including intoxication assault of a peace officer.

Right now, the suspect faces five to 99 years in prison.

My sympathies to the injured officer, and with irony, to the family of the first idiot drunk driver killed in the patrol car's backseat.

As someone who has lost a family member to a repeat drunk driver, I can only say that the penalties need to be stiffer for the first and then MUCH STIFFER for any subsequent DUI offenses, and for a case like this, LIFE IMPRISONMENT.

Also dram shop laws and training need to be upgraded, and data from all 50 states' DMV's needs to be better shared.

These repeat drunk drivers simply don't care about anyone except themselves. We should give them the rest of their lives for their self-absorption; lock them in a small cell with mirrored walls.
Posted by jf at 7/22/2019 8:58:10 AM

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