The driver accused of killing a 14-year-old boy and injuring three other teens in a car crash Friday had been released from prison without a parole board hearing and with restrictions meant to prevent impaired driving, state officials said Tuesday.
Keith Brazier, 28, of Galveston, was released from Texas Department of Criminal Justice custody at the Holliday Unit in Huntsville at 10:40 a.m. Friday, about seven hours before the wreck, Amanda Hernandez, communications director for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.
Brazier, charged with murder in the death of Mason Nelson, had served eight months of a three-year sentence for a third DWI conviction, according to court records.
Brazier had been credited with 109 days of his sentence for time served in Galveston County Jail awaiting trial, court records show.
He became eligible for parole Jan. 13 and approved for parole March 23, pending the completion of a three-month rehabilitation program, said Timothy McDonnell, chief of staff of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Brazier was required to meet the general rules of parole release such as reporting to a parole officer, not moving without permission and complying with his parole officer. Brazier was released under special requirements including not operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock device, submitting to periodical urine analysis, participating in a DWI repeat offender program and intensive supervision, McDonnell said.
A parole hearing was not held for Brazier, McDonnell said. The parole board voted after a review of information about the crime for which he was serving time, criminal history, institutional adjustment, substance use, medical, education, support and protest input, McDonnell said.
In addition to the three DWI convictions, Brazier had also been convicted of possession of cocaine, court records show.
The crash occurred about 6 p.m. Friday when a white Toyota SUV going west at high speed on Avenue O struck a Jeep traveling north on 41st Street, Sgt. Derek Gaspard of the Galveston Police Department said.
The white SUV had failed to stop at several traffic lights along Avenue O and ran through a red light at 41st Street, police allege.
Nelson, a freshman at Ball High School, was killed in the wreck. A parent was driving the vehicle, with three other passengers, who were taken to a University of Texas Medical Branch hospital, authorities said. Two remained in critical condition Tuesday with serious head injuries, authorities said.
A passenger of the SUV was taken to the medical branch in stable condition.
Brazier also was injured in the wreck and was still hospitalized Tuesday, police said.
Brazier is being held on a $500,000 bond, police said.
Police declined Tuesday to discuss other details of the crash and aftermath, such as where the accused might have been drinking, citing an ongoing investigation.
Counselors were on hand Tuesday at Ball High School, the first school day after the Labor Day holiday and the crash.
A vigil was held Tuesday night at the Ball High School auditorium to honor Nelson and help students grieving the tragedy.
Police asked people with information about the crash to call the Galveston Police Department at 409-765-3703 or Galveston County Crime Stoppers at 409-763-8477.