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DPS trooper not charged in wreck that led to deadly pileup

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  • DPS trooper not charged in wreck that led to deadly pileup

    DPS trooper not charged in wreck that led to deadly pileup

    Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 8:01 am, Tue Nov 30, 2010.

    No citation or charges will be handed down to a state trooper, even though Department of Public Safety officials determined he was traveling at unsafe speeds and his 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe had defective or slick tires, which contributed to his one-vehicle crash earlier this month.

    The crash was allegedly the catalyst for a second wreck that took the life of a 32-year-old man who was killed when he was struck by another vehicle while reportedly trying to be help the trooper.

    Palestine-based Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Trooper David Rice crashed into a fence and a gas meter about 10:45 a.m. Nov. 2 after he lost control of his patrol vehicle on FM 149, according to DPS crash reports.

    DPS spokeswoman Jean Dark said it was important to note the finding of “traveling at unsafe speeds” does not mean the trooper was speeding.

    “The charge means that his speed was unsafe for the weather conditions,” Dark said noting that weather conditions were rainy the day of the crash.

    Dark also noted each trooper is responsible for inspecting his vehicle to ensure it is maintained properly, including monitoring the tread on their patrol vehicle’s tires.

    The DPS investigation determined Rice’s left rear tire had a tread depth of only 2/32 inches and the right rear tire had a depth of only 1/32 inches. Both tires are considered to be legally worn, according to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration standards.

    According to the crash report, Rice was traveling southbound on FM 149 when he lost control of the vehicle, crossed into northbound lanes while rotating counter-clockwise, then struck a fence and gas meter.

    Minutes after Rice crashed, the second wreck occurred at the scene involving four vehicles, including a Burlington Northern Santa Fe crane truck pulling a trailer. The driver of the crane truck lost control on the wet roadway near the trooper crash, fatally striking 32-year-old Trent Hepler who was reportedly standing on the shoulder of the roadway waiting for traffic to clear so he could check on Rice’s condition.

    Attorney Ralph Pelaia, who is representing the Hepler family and investigating the events surrounding the crash that took Hepler’s life, said the trooper crash had nothing to do with the crane truck crash that took Hepler’s life.

    Although Rice was not issued any citations in connection to the crash, the driver of the crane truck, 41-year-old Galen Williams was issued citations for failure to control speed and for having an expired motor vehicle inspection on the trailer.

    Pelaia said he is bringing in experts from Georgia and Dallas to review other aspects of the case."[/QUOTE]


    The public isn't happy about this ruling. What do you guys think?

  • #2
    Two seperate wrecks. I'm not sure how the trooper could be charged with anything in relation to the second wreck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by beavo451 View Post
      Two seperate wrecks. I'm not sure how the trooper could be charged with anything in relation to the second wreck.
      Yes. Would it make you happier if he got a ticket for losing control? People, like usual, just want to hate the police.
      For the cops out there: You are an adult. If you want to write someone, write them. If you don't want to write someone, then don't write them.

      "Jeff, you are the best cop on this board"-Anonymous Post

      Comment


      • #4
        Wow, do they really know how to title an article. The title makes it sound as if the trooper was actually involved and at fault in the wreck that killed someone and was not charged. I was reading the article waiting for the part where the trooper hit someone or something, only to find that he wrecked, and SEVERAL MINUTES LATER another wreck just happened to occur in the same area.

        I think "the public" are idiots. Most of them probably didn't make it past the title of the article and are outraged at something that never happened. This is no different than a patrol car pulled off the side of the road for a traffic stop and someone wrecking out in the same spot. The trooper had nothing to do with the wreck, and to prove it, I give you.................

        Attorney Ralph Pelaia, who is representing the Hepler family and investigating the events surrounding the crash that took Hepler’s life, said the trooper crash had nothing to do with the crane truck crash that took Hepler’s life.
        Wow an attorney even openly stated that the trooper wasn't involved. You know he's in the clear if an a lawyer isn't seeing state dollar signs and going after the state.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yep, I hate it when the media does this.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah, as I read this, knowing NOTHING about the situation, this stuck out to me:

            Minutes after Rice crashed, the second wreck occurred
            Let me say that again - MINUTES AFTER. Did you hear that okay, counsel? MINUTES AFTER. Not seconds after, like, "Oh crap, that trooper just wrecked I better swerve, crap I just crashed into a crane." It's a second crash by definition as long as the first one has stabilized, which obviously it had because I've never seen cars spin out of control for minutes.

            Yeah, the trooper should have had better tires, but I'd like to know the tread depth on the FRONT tires. In my state, 2/32 is the legal limit for all tires. For commercial vehicles, it's 4/32 on the steering axle and 2/32 on all other axles. So he had ONE tire that was less than the legal limit. If I were that trooper, I would have begged to get the "unsafe tire" ticket the day of the crash, paid it the next day and been done with it - then double jeopardy would have attached and they could have never charged me with anything else related to the fatal crash.

            I see NO REASON whatsoever this guy should be charged with ANYTHING related to the second crash. Exonerated - let the man get back to work.

            Comment


            • #7
              Agreed.. +1.

              Comment


              • #8
                Other than the title of this thread, there is nothing that suggests that the trooper caused the second wreck. If his take-home vehicle was not being maintained according to policy then he should get some sort of written reprimand for the wreck, but that's about it.

                Comment

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