A motorist is facing murder charges after an alleged drunk driving crash with a semi truck resulted in the death of his young daughter.
The fatal crash happened at around 3:55 p.m. on Saturday, October 9th in Houston, Texas.
According to KWTX News, 30-year-old Paul Rodriguez was allegedly driving drunk and weaving in and out of traffic on the 5900 block of the Southwest Freeway with his three children in the car when he collided with a semi truck. The force of the crash then sent him veering into a Mercedes and a box truck before finally coming to a stop.
At some point in the series of crashes, Rodriguez’s six-year-old step daughter, Zyra Longoria, was thrown from the car. She was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition and was pronounced dead the following day.
Rodriguez and his two sons, two and four years old, were also transported to the hospital but sustained only non-life-threatening injuries. The semi truck driver was not injured in the incident. No other injuries have been reported.
ARRESTED: Booking photo of Paul Rodriguez, 30, now charged with murder and felony DWI in the death of a 5-yr-old girl in Saturday's crash on the Southwest Freeway.— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) October 11, 2021
More info is at https://t.co/WpVeSHwTNy#hounews https://t.co/61Jf2ffjwW pic.twitter.com/00PR0jPAlu
Officers, with the help of witnesses, confirmed that Rodriguez appeared to be intoxicated at the time of the crash. Witnesses also say that Rodriguez did not go over to check on his daughter as she was lying on the freeway, and even heard him tell someone that she was not his child. He has since been charged with intoxicated assault and driving while intoxicated with a child passenger, but those charges were soon dropped and replaced with a murder charge, reported ABC 13.
Rodriguez is currently jailed on $250,000 bond and has attempted to contact the girl’s mother, Sabrina Garcia, to apologize, but she says she needs to focus on her remaining children, the two boys who survived the crash, for the time being.
Garcia says that it was Rodriguez’s weekend to watch their two sons, but that Zyra wanted to go along, so she let her.
“He raised her since she was young,” Garcia said. “She liked going with him and spending time with him, so I let her go.”
“I trusted him to take care of my baby and to bring her back home. She’s not coming home anymore, so it’s hard.”