Red light runner blamed for crash that killed three teens

July 10, 2010 2:07:24 PM PDT
A suspected drunken driver has ended three lives. Three teenagers were killed in an early morning accident in northeast Houston. For now, the driver is not in custody and he has not been charged. The accident happened around 1:30am at the North Beltway feeder and the Eastex Freeway. According to police, seven people, mostly teenagers, were inside an SUV on their way home from a party when the driver of a Toyota ran a red light.

"The Ford Expedition who was traveling eastbound didn't see that car, they crossed that intersection, was struck by the Toyota," said Sgt. I Izaguirre of the Houston Police Department.

Three people were ejected. Two teenage girls died at the scene. The third victim, 13-year-old Detrihanna Davis, died at the hospital. The medical examiner identified the other two victims as Avaianca Andrea Cortez, 13, and Rashaunda Jenayle Raleigh, 17.

Houston police identified the driver of the Toyota as Sajan Tamilshina. Police say he was taken to the hospital for a blood alcohol test. But with results pending, no charges have been filed.

"At this time, we believe he is under the influence of alcohol, and was taken to a DWI officer for further investigation," said Sgt. Izaguirre.

We tracked Tamilshina down to this house in Humble where a housemate answered the door. The housemate confirmed he lived there, but said he didn't know where Tamilshina was. Calls to Tamilshina's phone also went unanswered.

As for the two teenage victims, police say the teens were not wearing seatbelts.

"I believe there's a strong possibility that lives could have been saved had they been wearing a seat belt," Sgt. Izaguirre said.

State statistics show there were more than 1,200 alcohol-related traffic accidents last year. While it's uncertain if alcohol played a definitive role in this case, it certainly raises concerns.

Drunk driving laws in Texas could soon be toughened by lawmakers. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing Thursday to talk about DWI laws. Lawmakers discussed options for sobriety checkpoints around the state, and mandatory blood testing. Also on the table - creating a new treatment program, and improving ignition interlock devices for first time offenders.


Load Comments