Man Fled the Scene Instead of Helping Couple Escape Burning SUV
Ivan Esparza is responsible for killing a young couple last January in a firey crash, then fleeing the accident instead of helping or even calling 911. On Monday, the now 23 year-old man pled guilty to two counts of intoxication manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The fatal accident occurred on Interstate 635 at Interstate 35E in Dallas just before midnight on January 11, 2014. Esparza rear-ended Chantae and Danny Reed’s SUV, causing the vehicle to hit a concrete barrier and burst into flames. He then took off, more concerned about avoiding a DWI than protecting the lives of the people he left behind.
Investigators believe Chantae escaped the flames, but went back to rescue her husband. She was also overcome by the smoke and fire. Both Chantae and Danny died at the scene. What a tragedy.
Blood Alcohol Content 3 1/2 times the Limit
Esparza’s blood alcohol content was a shocking .271 percent. He was arrested the night of the accident at a motel about one mile away from the crash scene. Officers noted in the arrest affidavit that Esparza was argumentative and made obscene gestures while first responders tried to treat him for a cut to the arm.
His attitude did not change much over the 16 months since he killed the couple. He showed little emotion at his sentencing hearing as the couple’s family gave tearful, heart-wrenching testimony.
Endless Grief Caused by Drunk Driving
The 24 year-old couple had been married for four years before their lives were cut short. Family members said Chantae and Danny were searching for a new house and were excited about starting a family. They described the couple as kind and full of faith. Also, witnesses described the depth of their love for each other, saying they took comfort in knowing the couple was together at the end of their lives. Danny’s father lost his only son. Even Esparza’s loved ones were shaken by the heartbreaking testimony, leaving the courtroom in tears. And, a defendant who was appearing on another matter following the sentencing hearing was seen crying.
That’s the thing about DWI collisions. The tragedy touches so many lives and the pain lasts a lifetime, all because someone chose to drink to excess and drive.
MADD Statistics on Drunk Driving
To get a snapshot of how serious the problem of drunk driving really is, here are statistics reported by MADD:
- Every day, 300,000 drunk drivers are on the road, but only about 4,000 are arrested.
- Repeat offenders account for about one-third of DWI arrests.
- In 2012, approximately 50 percent of all drivers killed in auto accidents had alcohol or drugs in their systems.
- In 2013, DWI crashes killed 10,076 people and injured 290,000.
However, MADD reports some good news. Drunk driving deaths have been cut in half in the United States since 1980, the year the organization was founded.
Berenson Law Firm Advocates for Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
If you were injured by a drunk driver, Bill Berenson can help you recover. Call our Dallas-Fort Worth law office at 888.801.8585 for your free consultation.