Here’s a horrible story: an Arlington woman caused a fatal collision when she was driving while intoxicated on Interstate 35W — the wrong way — late Friday. Her blood alcohol content was .24% — THREE TIMES THE LEGAL LIMIT.
And she was seen by a police officer driving into heavy traffic with her hands behind her head.
As I often say, what is going on out there?
Brittany D. Burton, 25, was charged with first degree murder — not just intoxication manslaughter – under a new law that allows criminal prosecution if a person performs an act that is “clearly dangerous to human life and causes the death of another person ( her six month old daughter) while committing a felony.
Police say a Fort Worth DWI officer spotted Burton driving her Jeep Liberty north in the southbound lanes of the 2700 block of I-35W around Berry Street shortly before midnight Friday.
With emergency lights on and his siren blaring, Officer C. Norman traveled in the northbound lanes beside the wrong-way driver, trying unsuccessfully to get the driver to stop.
Richard Alpert, assistant district attorney of Tarrant County, said this is the first time that prosecutors have sought a felony murder charge against a defendant whose vehicle did not directly strike a vehicle or a person in a fatal wreck.
Megan’s father — who is married to another woman — is in California working, but said his sister is caring for Megan. He plans to ask for custody of his daughter.
Mandujano acknowledged that he’s had his own problems, including a misdemeanor DWI conviction in 1999. He also completed deferred-adjudication probation in 2009 in which he was accused of assaulting Burton.
“It was one of those days when we did have a lot to drink,” he said. “I’ve seen alcohol is no good. I’m going to be 41. I’ve learned a lot since those years.”
Trying to avoid the Jeep, Minho Park, 32, swerved his Honda Civic onto the freeway’s inside shoulder when his car was struck from behind by a Ford pickup, whose driver was also attempting to avoid the Jeep.
Both men had gotten out of the vehicles to assess the damage when a Ford van, driven by 51-year-old Bobby Brooks, plowed into the wreckage while also attempting to get out of the Jeep’s way.
Brooks said he swerved, catching only a glimpse of the Jeep driver as she passed by.
Minho was able to escape injury after jumping over the highway’s concrete median.
The pickup driver, Jeffery Hogan, age 47, who lived in Fort Worth,
was tragically struck by one of the vehicles and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say that despite the vehicle swerving out of her way, Burton continued north in the southbound lanes, prompting the officer to get on his public address system and yell at her to pull over. In the 2300 block of the freeway, Burton finally stopped, coming within 10 feet of a head-on collision with a 18-wheeler.
Inside the Jeep, police found Burton’s daughter not properly restrained in a child seat.
OK, so why was this woman driving drunk at midnight with her baby not restrained properly, and how long had she been driving while intoxicated that night? How did she get drunk? Had she DWI’d before? Was her vehicle equipped with an engine interlock to prevent her from driving?
Neal said the child was taken to a Fort Worth hospital to be checked over, then released to the custody of the baby’s father. Child Protective Services have been alerted about the case, Neal said.