Archive for October, 2012

11-year old struck and killed by pickup in Lake Jackson

Witnesses say 11-year old Amberle Woodard was in a crosswalk crossing on a “walk” signal when she was struck and killed Monday by a pickup truck driven by a 63-year old man. The pickup was turning right on a green light, and police are continuing to investigate the cause of the accident, including examining the driver’s cell phone records. The accident happened at the intersection of Oyster Creek Drive and Circle Way in Lake Jackson.

Amberle celebrated her 11th birthday on Sunday. She is described as an energetic, outgoing, straight A student. Friends and co-workers of Amberle‘s family have set up the Amberle Taylor Woodard Memorial Fund at Texas Dow Employee Credit Union to help pay for the funeral costs. The donate, call 979-297-1154, or you can deposit donations to account no. 2237094. Channel 2’s story is here.

Amberle Woodard

Deputy and City inspector hurt by alleged drunk driver in Clear Lake

Channel 13 is reporting that a city inspector and an off-duty HCSO deputy were hospitalized after they were struck by a car at a Clear Lake construction site. The deputy and the worker were standing outside the deputies truck on Seawolf Drive near Bay Area Boulevard around 1:45 a.m. last night when a dark green Chrysler Sebring convertible crashed into the back of a blue Dodge Ram pickup truck, pushing it into the men. While investigators were working the first accident, a second car came through the construction barriers. Drivers of both vehicles were tested for possible intoxication. According to¬†Channel 11’s report, the woman driving the Sebring has an extensive criminal record.

The alleged drunk driver's Chrysler Sebring

The off duty deputy's Dodge Ram pickup

Griselda Aza, alleged drunk driver kills 2 on Highway 249 at Antoine

Two people were killed by a drunk driver in a two car accident around 2:15 a.m. on Sunday on State Highway 249 at Antoine in Houston. Griselda Aza, 33, driving a pickup truck northbound on SH 249 ran a red light at Antoine and crashed into the driver’s side of a silver Honda heading westbound on Antoine. A woman driving the car (Darlene Hubbard) and a male passenger (Alphonse Jackson, Jr.) were both killed on impact. There were two Harris County Sheriff’s deputies at the intersection at the time: one actually stopped to avoid being hit by the pickup. Griselda Aza was taken to Ben Taub Hospital in stable condition where a blood draw revealed a blood alcohol content of .217 according to a Channel 11 story, which would make the woman almost two and one half times the legal limit for intoxication. Aza has been charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter. Channel 2’s story.

The driver and passenger of this Honda were killed

Griselda Aza's wrecked pickup truck

HPD cruiser causes wrong way accident on Fulton Street

Early this morning a Houston Police Department officer caused a wrong-way head on car accident, colliding with a pickup truck in a construction zone. The crash happened on Fulton Street at Bennington Street. HPD says a patrol unit occupied by two officers was responding to a Code 1 call and had its emergency lights on when it turned north on Fulton, not realizing the street was one-way southbound due to construction. The police car hit an oncoming pickup truck, sending the pickup driver and one of the officers to hospital. Apparently the underlying matter the patrol unit was responding to was a vehicle pursuit in the nearby area. Channel 2’s story is here.
Hopefully the City of Houston will take care of the truck owner’s medical expenses and the damage to his vehicle. Under Texas law, units of government have immunity from being sued in most circumstances, however the Texas Tort Claims Act provides exceptions to sovereign immunity, including negligence caused by a government employee while operating a motor driven vehicle. If the government employee happens to be a police officer responding to an emergency call with lights and sirens however, the person injured in the accident caused by the police officer would have to show either that the officer did not act in conformity with an emergency action law, or was acting with conscious indifference or reckless disregard for the safety of others. (See CPRC Sec. 101.055 (2) below). That can be a difficult burden to carry for someone looking to recover their damages from an accident caused by a Texas peace officer responding to an emergency call.
Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Sec. 101.055. CERTAIN GOVERNMENTAL FUNCTIONS. This chapter does not apply to a claim arising: (1) in connection with the assessment or collection of taxes by a governmental unit; (2) from the action of an employee while responding to an emergency call or reacting to an emergency situation if the action is in compliance with the laws and ordinances applicable to emergency action, or in the absence of such a law or ordinance, if the action is not taken with conscious indifference or reckless disregard for the safety of others; or (3) from the failure to provide or the method of providing police or fire protection.

Photo credit: KHOU

Photo credit: KHOU

Off duty police officer Amado Huerta killed in motorcycle accident

Amado Huerta, 44, a husband, father of five children and 16-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, died in a motorcycle accident over the weekend. Huerta was driving his Honda Goldwing motorcycle northbound on the South Freeway Sunday evening around 8:30 p.m. when a silver-colored Pontiac Grand Am made an unsafe lane change, striking the motorcycle. Huerta was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police say the driver was likely not impaired and the accident investigation is ongoing. Huerta joined HPD in 1995 and worked as a motorcycle officer in the traffic division. The Houston Chronicle’s report is here.

Six hospitalized after car hits METRO bus on Westheimer

According to a Channel 11 report, a man and woman were arguing right before their car smashed into the back of a METRO bus waiting a stop on Westheimer at Briarpark in Houston. The crashed happened around 12:45 a.m. The man and the woman in the car were taken to the hospital, as were four passengers on the bus.

Teenager killed in car accident when shoplifters flee Baytown Police

According to Baytown Police, suspected shoplifters Jennifer Rene Jenkins (35) and Shannon Joe Chauncey (43), led police on a chase Friday night that culminated in a multi-vehicle accident in which a 16-year old boy was killed.
Channel 2 reports that Jenkins stole a pillow and comforter from a Sears store in the 6900 block of Garth Road, then left the store and climbed into a pickup truck driven by Chauncey. Police then found the couple stealing from a nearby Academy sports store. Once the couple were in their pickup, the police moved in to make an arrest, however Chauncey backed up the truck and struck a police car before fleeing on Garth Road. When Jenkins and Chancey reached Garth Road and Rollingbrook they struck a pickup truck and also a car, killing the car’s 16-year old passenger Shawn Williams and injuring the 17-year old driver, Shay Hollingshead.
Shawn’s sister Tyler Williams told Channel 2 that she learned about the accident via Twitter: that there had been a collision near a 24-hour Fitness gym and that one of the vehicles had caught fire. Shawn was less than five minutes from home where the wreck happened and had just finished working a shift at El-Toro’s To-Go Kitchen. One of the managers at El-Toro’s, Herb Martinez, described Shawn as one of the most polite people he has ever met.
After the crash Jenkins and Chauncey jumped out of their wrecked pickup truck and tried to flee the scene, but were apprehended after a short foot chase. Shay Hollingshead and transported to Memorial Hermann via life flight helicopter in serious condition. Channel 11 report. Channel 13 report. Houston Chronicle report.

16-year old accident victim Shawn Williams

Shannon Chauncey's wrecked Ford pickup truck

Sharon Zakkizadeh and Joseph Seymour victims of Highway 6 car accident

A crash last night on HIghway 6 in Santa Fe, Texas has claimed two lives and left another driver injured. Santa Fe Police Department say 29-year old Carles Orsak was driving westbound on Highway 6 when he rear-ended a Jeep driven by 65-year old Sharon Zakkizadeh: the Jeep rolled after the impact killing Sharon instantly. The Keep crossed into eastbound traffic and hit 58-year old Joseph Seymour’s Honda. Mr. Seymour was trapped in his vehicle and died. Orsak was in stable condition at UTMB; police are investigating the cause of the collision. Channel 2’s story is here. Galveston Daily News story is here. Channel 13’s story.

Driver killed in Hardy Toll Road truck accident

A concrete ready-mix truck experienced a tire blow out on the Hardy Toll Road yesterday causing the truck to strike the retaining wall and roll over. The driver of the concrete truck died at the scene. After the collision the truck caught fire. All main southbound lanes of the Hardy at Aldine Mail Route were shut down. Channel 2’s story. Information on how truck accidents happen.

Photo credit: KHOU

Esther Anderson charged with 2-year old’s intoxication assault after car accident

39-year old mother Esther Anderson was arrested and charged with intoxication assault yesterday after a single car accident seriously injured her 2-year old little girl, according to KHOU Channel 11. The wreck happened around 4:00 p.m. as Anderson was driving her 2004 GMC Envoy on Carriage Hills Boulevard north of The Woodlands when she lost control and struck a tree on the passenger side. Sergeant Angela Fountain with the D.P.S. said the toddler was not secured in the vehicle by a car seat, safety belt or any kind of restraint at all. In fact a witness who saw the vehicle prior to the crash said the toddler was standing up near the center console.
DPS officers found an open can of Busch beer in the vehicle and believe it was resting between Anderson’s legs at the time of the crash. Due to the child’s injuries, Anderson was subject to a mandatory blood draw: she was held overnight at the hospital and will be taken to jail to face charges of injury to a child and intoxication assault. Anderson’s husband showed up at the accident scene: he was questioned by deputies who determined he had an outstanding Montgomery County warrant for child abandonment: he was taken to jail.
Photos taken by KHOU show a 12-pack of Busch beer in the vehicle, and also where law enforcement apparently lined up several empty beer cans on the hood of the wrecked SUV. A story on the Montgomery County Police Reporter web site states that, according to Anderson’s husband, she had left earlier than afternoon to get a birthday cake for the couple’s 9-year old. No birthday cake was in the car. Car crashes are the number one killer of children aged 1 to 12-years old in the U.S. You can read on the NHTSA’s web site how to check if your child is in the right car seat.

Photo credit: KHOU

Photo credit: KHOU