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Houston drunk driver charged in death of scooter operator

A 20-year-old Houston man is charged with intoxication manslaughter after he struck a father who was riding in a motorized scooter with his 1-year-old son in his lap. Police don't think that the driver was speeding, but the force of the crash was enough to throw the scooter operator and his son more than 20 feet. It illustrates the extra caution that drivers must take when they are around pedestrians, scooters, bicycles or motorcycles.

According to police, the 56-year-old man drove his scooter off the sidewalk in the afternoon earlier this week when the way was blocked up ahead. He drove his scooter into the right lane of West Montgomery Road, and the 20-year-old man said he didn't see the scooter until it was too late.

Miraculously, the father held onto his 1-year-old son tightly enough that despite being thrown through the air, the boy survived with only minor injuries. His father died later at the hospital.

Police detained the man after they gave him a field sobriety test, which led them to believe he was driving drunk. He was later given a blood test at a local hospital, the results of which are not yet available.

The driver was on probation for an arrest on theft charges at the time of the accident, according to court documents.

Now the family of the deceased father has to pick up the pieces and worry about who will fill the father's role for the 1-year-old boy. They may also wish to try and hold the drunk driver accountable for his actions. If the driver is convicted in criminal court, it could strengthen a wrongful death suit seeking monetary damages.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "SUV driver charged in scooter death," Robert Stanton and Mike Glenn, Jan. 5, 2012

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