HOUSTON – The driver who authorities said chased a 14-year-old driver, leading to a fatal New Year’s Day crash, had his first court appearance early Tuesday morning.
Christopher Lopez, 48, turned himself in after he was indicted Monday on the charges of manslaughter, failure to stop and render aid and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the crash at Aldine Mail Route and Aldine Westfield Road.
During Lopez's first court hearing prosecutors laid out the case against him, saying Lopez chased an SUV with several teenagers inside after they threw eggs at his car on New Year’s Day.
Investigators said the SUV ran a red light at 60 mph and crashed into Silvia Zavala’s, 45, pickup. Zavala died in the crash.
According to prosecutors, the chase reached speeds of up to 100 mph, and Lopez even pulled out a gun and fired multiple times at the teens.
“Another witness observed the defendant point a firearm out the window and fire at the juveniles that he was chasing,” said the prosecutor.
Prosecutors said witnesses saw Lopez flee the scene and run another red light before they lost sight of him.
The judge set Lopez’s bond at $60,000 combined for the three charges. The judge said he was concerned about Lopez being a risk to public safety and a flight risk.
Lopez’s attorney in court asked for a lower bond, arguing that Lopez turned himself in to authorities, he has no prior convictions and he has been at his current job for five years.
Lopez posted bond Tuesday morning.
The teens suffered injuries that were not life-threatening.
The teen has not been identified.
Lopez faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.