CUT AND SHOOT, TX (04/22/2016) — An intoxicated 18-wheeler driver caused an accident that killed three people and injured a child on Friday morning.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) identified 37-year-old Chad Fletcher as the driver of an 18-wheeler who caused an accident that claimed the lives of 67-year-old Eric Shirley, 77-year-old Doris Moorer, 31-year-old Jennifer Crain, and injured one child.
The DPS reported that this fatal accident occurred on Texas 105 near South Walker Road, near Conroe, Texas.
Authorities stated that at around 11:10 a.m., traffic slowed considerably due to a heavy load convoy and Fletcher failed to stop his 18-wheeler (owned by “Big Boy Trucking” of Buna, Texas) before colliding with multiple vehicles. He initially struck a Mercedes sedan, which collided with a Cadillac sedan.
“The whole line of traffic was stopped,” said Gordon Zentz, who witnessed the crash. “I heard a crunch and then brakes. I looked in my rearview mirror and I could see the semi pushing that car.”
Both occupants of the Mercedes died at scene. They have not been identified at this time.
The two occupants of the Cadillac—a woman and her infant son—were transported to Conroe Regional Medical Center, where woman later died. The child was transferred to the Texas Children’s Hospital in the Texas Medical Center in an unknown condition.
Fletcher was arrested and charged with three counts of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and one count of injury to a child/elderly/disabled.
“This is very sad. Three people are longer here… a child is without a mother. This does not have to happen. [This was] a preventable crash,” Trooper Erik Burse with DPS said.
Police also say this is not Fletcher’s first run in with the law. The Montgomery County Police Reporter states that Fletcher is currently on probation after pleading guilty in June of 2015 to third-degree felony assault of family / household member by impeding breath or circulation. They also state that he has been arrested and convicted multiple times for marijuana possession, and was arrested for driving while license invalid back in 2003.
As officers stated, this was a preventable accident that cost many lives and affected several families forever. The driver who caused this wreck had a responsibility to not drive while under in the influence of alcohol, and his negligence resulted in tragedy. Not only will he be held criminally liable for this accident, but the trucking company that employs him may also face civil claims from the victims and their families.
To those affected by this accident, we offer our deepest condolences.