Grandmother killed in wreck, driver arrested

Tomas Ortiz Jr. charged with intoxication manslaughter

GALENA PARK, Texas - A driver admitted to speeding when he caused deadly collision in Galena Park Thursday night, detectives said.

Harris County deputies said Tomas Ortiz Jr., 21, admitted to driving about 100 mph before the wreck on Clinton and Crown at about 10 p.m.

"He reached a speed of 110 mph, at which time he began to lose control. He says that he got off the gas at that time and had slowed down to what he believed was approximately 75 to 80 mph at the time that he struck the back of that pickup truck," Sgt. S. Wolverton said.

Investigators said Ortiz's Dodge Challenger hit a pickup truck, causing the driver, Elias Hernandez, to lose control and crash into concrete barrier and then into Panther Creek.

Five people were in that truck that crashed. Hernandez's 57-year-old wife, Laura, was killed, deputies said.

"It hurts to know that she died for something so insignificant," said Leslie Perez, a friend of the family. "She was always trying to help other people out."

Hernandez suffered minor injuries. Two other adults and a 1-year-old child were sent to Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in serious but stable condition.

A passenger in Ortiz's car suffered minor injuries. He was treated and released.

Ortiz was arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter.

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