HARRIS COUNTY – A man charged with felony murder is in the Harris County jail on a $1,000,000 bond.
Investigators said 34-year-old Emmanuel Camacho-Patino was driving on FM 2100 in northeast Harris County on Saturday when his tire blew out. His pickup truck then rolled into a ditch, killing his 10-year-old son.
On Monday, people in the community placed flowers, teddy bears and balloons at a makeshift memorial.
“He was just really kind and he cared about people. He was a good person,” 12-year-old Chance Lewis said.
Chance and his mother Robin offered their condolences.
“We lived in his neighborhood and I knew him because I went over to his house and played with him and his sisters. His sister was like my best friend, she still goes to my school,” he said.
Officials said the boy’s father, Comacho-Patino, is now charged with his murder. Authorities said he was driving while under the influence and heading north on FM 2100. His rear tire blew out, which caused his GMC Sierra pickup truck to roll over and go into a ditch. His son was in the passenger seat and was partially thrown from the truck. He died at the scene and officials said he was not wearing a seatbelt.
“It seems like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in that situation,” Janette Fennell, president and founder of Kids and Car Safety said.
KPRC 2 spoke to Fennell about the importance of wearing a seat belt and keeping children safe.
“If have your seat belt on, it’s very survivable,” she said.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said there are more than 17,500 open DWI and intoxication manslaughter cases. A judge set Camacho-Patino’s bond at $1,000,000.
Fennell said they often hear about children involved in car crashes.
“When they die, 50%-60% of them are not wearing a seat belt or not correctly restrained in a car seat, 50-60%. What does that tell you about the effectiveness of seat belts but two, how important it is to make sure that everyone is bucked up?” she said.
Camacho-Patino’s next court hearing is set for Tuesday.