Police: O'Quinn driving twice the limit in fatal crash

November 24, 2009 8:17:05 AM PST
We have new information about the traffic crash that killed prominent Houston attorney John O'Quinn last month. Police say he was driving nearly twice the speed limit when he and his assistant were killed. It's been nearly one month since O'Quinn and Johnnie Cutliff died along Allen Parkway. O'Quinn was late for a flight. The Houston Police Department's preliminary investigation reveals their SUV was going nearly twice the legal speed limit.

As a major artery into downtown Houston, Allen Parkway is well-traveled no matter what time of day. The speed limit is 40 miles per hour and not all drivers abide by it. On October 29, one vehicle in particular wasn't even close.

According to Houston police, O'Quinn was speeding well above the limit when he crashed his SUV into a tree, killing both himself and long-time employee Johnnie Cutliff. The crash data computer in the SUV registered the speed at 79 miles per hour just seconds before the accident. At the time of the accident, the vehicle was going 76.

It was 8am and rainy and when you add in the road's curves, investigators said it was all a recipe for disaster.

"People can misjudge it and sometimes they can be driving way too fast on a curve. It doesn't take very much and suddenly you're in a bad situation," said Lt. Larry Satterwhite of the Houston Police Department.

Police found no skid marks, indicating O'Quinn never hit the brakes.

According to the toxicology report released Monday, the recovering alcoholic had no stimulants, no illegal drugs and no alcohol in his system.

Both men died from multiple blunt force trauma, so it appears O'Quinn was simply driving too fast. Neither man was wearing his seat belt.

HPD investigators are still working to independently verify what was on the SUV's crash data computer.

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