Houston News : Man killed by intoxicated wrong-way driver on I-45, sheriff says

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Fernando Lopez, 23, was charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault after allegedly causing a deadly wrong-way crash on Interstate 45 early Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, while intoxicated.

Fernando Lopez, 23, was charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault after allegedly causing a deadly wrong-way crash on Interstate 45 early Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, while intoxicated.

Photo: Texas Department Of Public Safety

Photo: Texas Department Of Public Safety

Fernando Lopez, 23, was charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault after allegedly causing a deadly wrong-way crash on Interstate 45 early Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, while intoxicated.

Fernando Lopez, 23, was charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault after allegedly causing a deadly wrong-way crash on Interstate 45 early Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, while intoxicated.

Photo: Texas Department Of Public Safety

Man killed by intoxicated wrong-way driver on I-45, sheriff says

A passenger in a car struck by a suspected drunken driver was killed early Thursday in a wrong-way crash that shut down the North Freeway for hours.

All southbound lanes of the highway near the Beltway are now back open, authorities said.

The driver of a Chevrolet Impala – later identified as 23-year-old Fernando Lopez – was northbound in the southbound lanes of Interstate 45 at Rankin Road when he crashed into a Dodge Charger travelling south around 2:15 a.m., according to Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Simon Cheng. A passenger inside the Charger was killed almost instantly, while the driver was seriously injured, Cheng said.

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As paramedics took Lopez to a nearby hospital, he showed signs of being intoxicated, Cheng said. Prosecutors later charged him with intoxication manslaughter in the Charger passenger’s death and intoxication assault for the injuries to the Charger’s driver, according to Sean Teare, chief prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office’s Vehicular Crimes Division.

Crash scene investigators had all lanes of I-45 closed at Rankin Road, but Gonzalez said all lanes were back open shortly before 7 a.m.

Gonzalez on Twitter expressed his condolences and frustration with the crash.

On HoustonChronicle.com: Out of Control: Houston’s roads are country’s most deadly

“Another suspected drunk driver and another victim,” he tweeted. “Some family will receive the horrific news. That knock on the door is something far too many Harris County residents have had to experience. Drunk driving takes lives, breaks hearts and shatters families.”

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Jay R. Jordan covers breaking news in the Houston area. Read him on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and our subscriber site, HoustonChronicle.com | Follow him on Twitter at @JayRJordan | Email him at [email protected]





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Source : chron.com