Tech professor named by anonymous source in fatal accident case - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Tech professor named by anonymous source in fatal accident case

Jeena Roberts, Source: Lubbock Sheriff's Office Jeena Roberts, Source: Lubbock Sheriff's Office

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Police continue to investigate whether Texas Tech students consumed alcohol on the way back from an engineering field trip to New Mexico on October 22nd. This comes after a student on that trip was involved in a fatal accident.

Linda Smaltz, 54, was killed in the accident on 4th Street between Buddy Holly and Avenue L. Smaltz was a passenger in the SUV, along with at least three other people. The SUV was rear-ended by Jeena Elizabeth Roberts, 21, a petroleum engineering major at Texas Tech University.

Lubbock Police say that Roberts was driving around 80 miles per hour when she hit the SUV. Smaltz was wearing a seatbelt in the backseat. She was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. Another backseat passenger was partially ejected and taken to the hospital where she was later released. The passenger in Roberts' car, along with the occupants of the SUV and family of Smaltz, are pressing charges against Roberts.

Roberts was arrested October 22nd and charged with intoxicated manslaughter, intoxicated assault, and aggravated assault. According to the police report, Roberts states that a professor allowed the students to drink on the field trip. She says in the report that she had five beers and a shot of alcohol.

Roberts refused to identify the professor, who she says allowed the drinking, because she was afraid that he would get into trouble. According to the University newspaper, the Daily Toreador, another student that was on the trip said the professor's name is Marshall Watson. He is an assistant professor in the petroleum engineering department at Texas Tech University.

The Daily Toreador also states "the student, who asked to remain anonymous, said Roberts was not the only student drinking alcohol on the trip but would not confirm if Watson knew about the drinking."

The field trip was for students in Watson's natural gas engineering class.

KCBD NewsChannel 11 has tried to contact Watson and he has not returned any phone calls at this time. There is no word on if the professor will be disciplined by Tech or if any charges will be filed against him.

Intoxicated manslaughter is a second-degree felony with the potential for two to 20 years in prison, and intoxicated assault is a third-degree felony, with a potential penalty of two to 10 years in prison.

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