HOUSTON – The driver accused of causing a deadly, fiery crash in northwest Harris County on Wednesday has been charged with three counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault, according to Harris County Constable Precinct 4.
Two adults and a baby died in the crash and four people remain hospitalized, officials said Wednesday night.
Officials said a driver in a silver SUV, identified as Gregory Smith, blew past a red light heading south on Antoine Drive at Beltway 8 hitting a black SUV and then a minivan, which burst into flames.
The driver of the black SUV was the only person in that car and remains hospitalized, but is expected to recover from her injuries. The driver in the silver SUV and his passenger are also hospitalized.
There was a family of four in the minivan, Constable Mark Herman said in a press conference Thursday. An 11-year-old girl was ejected from the vehicle on impact and remains hospitalized. The girl’s grandmother, mother and baby brother died inside the burning van, Herman said.
“If nothing else, this goes to show how terribly dangerous cars can be and when you have people that refuse to obey traffic signs,” said Sean Teare, chief of the Harris County District Attorney’s vehicular crimes division.
Constable Herman said that in the last couple of years, Smith has been “filed on” 14 times. Seven of those charges have been dismissed. Smith was arrested a few months ago for driving while intoxicated under the influence of PCP but was out on bond. He was also accused of assaulting a police officer, Constable Herman said. These cases are pending.
“As a law enforcement officer, this is one of the most horrific accidents I’ve seen in quite some time," Constable Herman said. “What makes it even more difficult for me to comprehend is that this individual is a career criminal.”
Witnesses told KPRC 2 they tried to put out the minivan fire with fire extinguishers before first responders arrived.
Two witnesses said they pulled the accused driver at fault and his passenger out of their car and described the injured men as “incoherent.”
Smith will be held without bond once he is released from the hospital. Deputies are working with the district attorney’s office to determine if more charges will be filed.