A 52-year-old Houston man arrested for DWI could face stiffer charges if Harris County sheriff's deputies determine the man also caused an accident that left a pedestrian dead.
The accident occurred about 11 p.m. on the Thursday before the Christmas weekend. Deputies arrested the man at the scene of the accident because they said he was driving drunk. Officials are less sure of the traffic conditions at the time of the accident.
According to the accident report, the man, who was driving northbound, allegedly crashed into a southbound vehicle when making a left turn at Woodcreek Lane. Authorities are determining whether the intoxicated driver made the turn when just the intersection light was green or when the left-turn arrow was lit.
If the arrow was activated, the drunk driver may have had the right-of-way. It would also mean the 27-year-old man whose car was struck at the intersection would shoulder some of the blame for the crash.
The light issue is critical because a 60-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed in the intersection's crosswalk. The pedestrian was hit by the second car involved in the accident, not the one driven by the alleged drunk driver.
Investigators are examining the surveillance camera of a business near the crash-site to find out if evidence exists to clarify accident details.
The alleged drunk driver is behind bars without bond, as police work to reconstruct the accident.
It is critical that police perform the investigation in an unbiased manner that respects both drivers' legal rights. Even if the suspected drunk driver is convicted of DWI, it does not mean that he caused the accident. It's important that he is treated fairly, just like any other suspect.
Source: KHOU, "Deputies trying to determine if drunk driver caused crash that killed pedestrian," Dec. 24, 2011