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Prosecutor: Bottle of liquor found in pocket of man charged in wreck that killed Houston healthcare worker

HOUSTON – The man accused of causing a fatal wreck on the Katy Freeway service road over the weekend faced a judge for the first time on Monday. Brandon Freeman, 32, was charged with intoxication manslaughter and remains in jail on a $60,000 bond.

Police said Amy Shypailo, 29, was killed Sunday when Freeman ran a red light and broadsided her car at the intersection of the Katy Freeway service road and Gessner.

“Defendant blew the red light, we’re going to guess somewhere over 80 miles an hour,” said Sean Teare, Chief of the Harris County District Attorney’s vehicular crimes division.

Teare said Shypailo was on her way to Memorial-Hermann Hospital in Memorial City, where she worked as a speech pathologist. Teare said Freeman told officers he had a fight with his girlfriend and was just driving around.

During a probable cause hearing, prosecutors laid out the evidence against Freeman, which included having a strong odor of alcohol about his person.

“Defendant also had very poor balance and slurred speech,” a prosecutor read to the magistrate Monday.

Prosecutors say Freeman admitted to having “couple of beers and a couple of shots of Hennessy.” Freeman couldn’t remember when he started drinking or when he stopped, prosecutors said. Officials believe Shypailo died instantly in the crash and Freeman was unharmed, Teare said.

“Houston Fire Department got there, noticed obvious signs of intoxication — one of them being he had a big bottle of Hennessy in his pocket,” said Teare. “She was literally going to the hospital to help other people in her job, and she was just wiped out by this incredibly selfish act.”

Shypailo’s family sent KPRC 2 the following statement:

“Amy had a blindingly bright life ahead of her. Amy’s husband proposed to her exactly two years ago today. She celebrated her first wedding anniversary last month.

She was an undergraduate Texas Longhorn before completing her graduate degree in Speech Pathology at the University of Houston. She spent some time in the NICU at HCA Clear Lake teaching premature babies to feed before moving to the Memorial Hermann medical center in Memorial City to treat stroke victims and recently, COVID-19 patients.

Words cannot express the suffering we’re experiencing at the loss of an amazing wife, daughter, sister, friend, and medical professional. Amy was an incredible woman who freely shared her gift with the world. She loved and was loved deeply by her many friends and her family.

She was taken from this world by an act of selfishness of one man. One person’s action has devastated the lives of countless more. We ask that men and women consider their social responsibility every time they get behind the wheel; that they create a culture of responsible driving.

We will forever cherish the memory of our Amy, a true hero.”