HOUSTON – A man who crashed his vehicle while intoxicated is charged with murder in the death of his five-year-old passenger, authorities said.
Paul Rodriguez, 30, is charged with murder, intoxicated assault and driving while intoxicated with a child under 15 in the 185th State District Court.
Rodriguez’s bond was set at $276,500 -- $250,000 for the death of the five-year-old girl, $25,000 for intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury and $1,500 for driving while intoxicated with a child under the age of 15.
Rodriguez has a criminal history dating back to at least 2015. Prior convictions include the unlawful carrying of a weapon, the possession of a controlled substance, theft, and the possession of marijuana.
According to the Houston Police Department, at about 3:55 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9, Rodriguez, who was driving a black Honda Accord, was weaving in and out of traffic while traveling southbound on the Southwest Freeway.
Witnesses who observed the man’s erratic driving followed him while calling 911. After they saw Rodriguez strike an 18-wheeler and continue driving, they honked at him to get his attention. The Honda Accord then veered to the right and struck a Mercedes and Box truck.
During the crash, a five-year-old passenger in the Honda was ejected from the vehicle.
She was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. Doctors pronounced her deceased on Sunday, Oct. 10. Police said the child’s identification is pending verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Rodriguez and two other juvenile male passengers -- two and four years of age -- sustained non-life threatening injuries in the crash and were transported to the hospital. No one else involved in the crash was injured, police said.
Officers determined Rodriguez was intoxicated and he was subsequently charged in the crash.