HOUSTON - Prosecutors say 31-year-old Million Zeghergis was legally intoxicated when he ran a red light and struck a car carrying elderly people on their way home from religious services.
Four were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The lone survivor, Shanumati Bhatt, is in stable condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital. Her husband was one of those killed.
Bhatt's granddaughter said the couple and three friends were on their way home from a Hindu temple at around 10 p.m. Sunday night when the Honda Civic they were riding in was struck by Zeghergis' van in the intersection of Beechnut Street, and Synott Road.
At a magistrate's hearing this afternoon, prosecutors said Zerhergis' blood alcohol level was measured at .107. The legal limit is .08. He is charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter.
Zerghergis is an Eritrean immigrant who was issued a Houston Cab Driver's license last May. He was behind the wheel of a 2009 Dodge van bearing the phone number and logo of the Champion Town Car company. A man who answered the phone there Monday said the company was not aware of the crash or that a company vehicle was involved.
Deputies identified the driver of the Honda as Devendraprasad Patel. He was killed along with three backseat passengers, Kokila Patel, Ansuyaben Patel and Jayanthilal Bhatt.
All of the victims in the crash were between 60 and 80 years old.
Zeghergis wasn't injured. He failed a field sobriety test at the scene according to accident investigators. Results of a blood test are pending.
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