HOUSTON – Charges have been filed against the driver of a white van who ran a red light during a road rage incident and crashed into another van, killing one person, police said.
Police said a minor argument at a bar led to a chase, a three-car collision and the death of a father of four.
Enrique Mendez Rodriguez was killed early Monday at the intersection of the North Freeway and Airline Drive.
According to authorities, Luis Alexander Gaspar, 22, was charged with intoxication manslaughter on Tuesday.
Rodriguez was on his way to work along with three other men when the accident happened, police said.
The crash occurred around 2:15 a.m.
Gaspar faced a judge Tuesday morning.
Prosecutors told the judge Gaspar got into an argument with a man at a bar because “they bumped shoulders.” Police said that, some time later, Gaspar began chasing that man down Airline Drive. Police said the man being chased ran a red light, causing a van carrying Rodriguez to collide with his car. Seconds later, police said, the van being driven by Gaspar slammed into the van carrying Rodriguez.
The front seat passenger in the second white van, which had the green light on the scene, and the driver and two other passengers – one with internal injuries – were transferred to area hospitals, police said.
According to police, the driver of the white car, Gaspar and his passenger suffered only minor injuries.
Police said Gaspar showed signs of intoxication including slurred speech, had a moderate odor of alcohol and red, glassy eyes. Gaspar told police he hadn't been chasing anyone.
“(Gaspar) noticed that the same male from the club was following him in a silver Chrysler 300,” a prosecutor told the judge. “He let the Chrysler go ahead of him and he saw the Chrysler run the red light.”
At the time of the crash, Rodriguez's family said the father of four was on the way to Lafayette, where he worked a construction job five days a week to help put his two oldest children through college.
“He was always a caring person. He always helped out whoever needed him -- family, friends. Sunday was always family day and that’s when we all had our last meal together,” a family member told KPRC.
Gaspar was released on a $40,000 bond, according to court records.