A 25 year old resident of Nepal is now a wanted man after police released him following a wreck that killed 3 Houston teens. This isn’t just a story about the danger of drunk driving but how law enforcement determines if someone is a “flight risk”. The college student is now facing three charges of intoxicated manslaughter and is nowhere to be found.
The accident occurred last week as the man was giving a ride to two teens after a “teen night” party, according to The Houston Chronicle. A third teen was in the SUV struck by the man, riding with her father. The two 13 year olds and 17 year old died as a result of the accident.
Immediately following the collision, police gave the suspect a series of field sobriety tests—of which he failed 2 of 3. They transported him to the hospital for blood to be drawn, a test whose results aren’t immediately available. The suspect told police he had only drank a fraction of one beer and they are said to have believed him.
The police followed standard procedure, given the circumstances, even calling a representative from the District Attorney’s office. The decision was made that he wasn’t a flight risk and he was released pending further investigation.
The test results came back and showed the man had a blood alcohol level of .127 to .162. This is a suspiciously wide rage, if the report is true, but it is well above the legal limit of .08. Now, however, he us nowhere to be found and may be back in his native Nepal.
Many things are taken into consideration when determining if someone is a flight risk. The police believed the man was a business owner, “giving him a serious tie to the community.” Things like employment and family are seen as reasons a person wouldn’t flee a criminal investigation. In this situation, however, it appears they were wrong.
Understandably, the police and prosecutors are facing backlash in the wake of the man’s release. They could have held him for 24 hours though this still wouldn’t have been enough time to get the test results back. The District Attorney’s office states there simply wasn’t enough evidence to charge him the night of the accident and they had no reason to think he was a flight risk.
Drinking and driving can quickly turn into a situation much more serious, and obviously a vehicular manslaughter charge is a tragic outcome.