Preliminary report says driver on prescription drugs at time of - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Preliminary report says driver on prescription drugs at time of fatal crash

Lubbock Attorney Tommy Turner is representing the family Lubbock Attorney Tommy Turner is representing the family

A preliminary DPS report about the fatal accident just outside of Anton last month says prescription medications played a role in the crash.

The report was released by attorney Tommy Turner, who is representing the victims' families.

The accident happened just after 9 a.m. on July 14. Jeffrey Howard was driving the wrong way on Highway 84 and hit Patricia E. Mendez and Ava Luicia McWhirter head on. Both were pronounced dead on the scene.

The preliminary report says, "The operator of Unit 1 (Jeffrey Howard) had lost his normal use of mental and physical faculties due to the ingestion of prescribed medication."

"Since it was prescription drugs it makes it easier. We don't have to disprove that he intended to hurt himself," Turner said. "Most insurance companies exclude things that you cause intentionally and there was a rumor at first that he was committing suicide, but if that were the case then the insurance companies might not pay."

Turner is trying to get monetary damages, but he says no amount of money will be able to ease the families' suffering.

"They just want some closure. They've lost two family members in the same incident and you can never recover enough money damages in a case like this to make things right," he said. "One of the good things about the matter is that the community came together in contributions to the fund that was set up for the little girl and the grandmother and pretty much covered the funeral expenses."

He says they are still awaiting official toxicology reports to come back from the DPS lab in Austin. Once that happens, he says it is up to the Hockley County District Attorney to decide if charges will be filed.

"I feel like they probably will and the only question in the case is what kind of a charge they are going to bring," Turner said. "It could be intoxication manslaughter, there's also a charge called criminally negligent homicide. It'll probably be one of those two things."

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