This past weekend proved deadly for a Houston family. Two men and six kids were piled into a car that went careening off the road into a flooded ditch. The two adults and a 10 year old child escaped, but the other 5 weren’t so lucky.
According to the Associated Press, driver Chanton Jenkins is currently in police custody facing 4 counts of intoxication manslaughter, one charge for each of the children that has been found to date. Mr. Jenkins lost control of the vehicle, according to his brother and passenger, when he was talking on his phone.
The ditch had turned into a rushing torrent with recent downpours and when the vehicle plunged into the waters, it was all the adults could do to save themselves and the one child who escaped. Police say the current was so strong, the car ended up 100 feet from its initial crash site. The rushing waters are also to blame for the still missing body of a 3 year old girl.
Jenkins is said to be father to 3 of the five victims, while the other two were cousins of the family. The children who passed were ages 1, 3, 4, 7, and 11.
Unfortunately, people drive while intoxicated everyday across our state and our nation. The vast majority of the time it is a victimless crime, and no one is harmed.
Accidents this tragic happen rarely, but they do happen. When tragic outcomes result from a drunk driving incident, you could be facing manslaughter or other extremely serious penalties well beyond the typical DUI laws and penalties in Texas.
For a simple first time DUI offense you can face anywhere from 3 to 180 days in jail. However, just having a child in the vehicle, or if you cause an accident, the likely penalty is dramatically increased. The charges that Jenkins faces, intoxication manslaughter, are punishable by 2 to 20 years for each count. This is clearly a serious felony charge, and prison is a certainty if he is found guilty.
DUI charges are serious no matter the outcome. Even if you were stopped two blocks from your point of origination and no accidents occurred, you will need the experience of a DUI attorney to help you through the court system.
If you are facing a DUI or related charge in Texas, call today for a free criminal defense consultation.