Earlier this week a young woman's evening escalated into something she likely did not intend. The 21-year-old was behind the wheel of a vehicle that hit another car, killing one of its occupants. The car her vehicle ran into was a police car and the woman who died was in police custody for suspected public intoxication.
The incident occurred shortly after 3:30 a.m. According to the Houston Police Department, the young woman failed to stop for a red light at an intersection. The intersection was not clear when she went through it and it was there that she collided with the police car. According to one area resident, the intersection's traffic lights are partially obstructed by a freeway overpass. This makes it difficult for drivers to see the light and accidents commonly occur there.
The force of the woman's car striking the police car threw the woman in custody out of the car. This was apparently possible because contrary to the policy of the police department, the woman was not wearing a seatbelt. The police officer, who was also in the car when the crash occurred, was injured as well and was transported to an area hospital. She was released after receiving treatment and her injuries were described as minor.
The woman has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.
Though following the incident the driver admitted that she should not have been driving and had consumed beverages with alcohol in them, there appear to be other factors that contributed to the death of the woman who was in custody, other than drunk driving. In addition to the precarious placement of the traffic light, the police officer failed to properly restrained the victim. Because the consequences for a conviction are severe it is likely that she will work with a criminal defense attorney to defend herself.
Source: KHOU 11 News, "Police: Woman who caused deadly HPD crash was drunk," Larry Seward, Oct. 2, 2013