Court records: Suspected drunken driver plows into homeowner checking mailbox

December 29, 2011 8:37:09 PM PST
This time of year, you hear the warnings over and over again about the dangers of drinking and driving. And now, there's another reminder. A northeast Houston woman was hit by a drunk driver -- at her own home.

Fifty-four-year-old Konhkahm Tran had just dropped a gift at a relative's house on Christmas Eve before returning home to check for mail. Gerald Layfield, who is accused of hitting her, spent a few days in jail before posting bond. Now Tran, a mother and wife, will be spending all of the holidays in the hospital.

Most of us think the danger is only on the road, but one family found out the hard way that it can follow you home.

The mailboxes in the 1800 block of Isom now sit on new posts. The tire tracks and skid marks from the crash that took them out are still visible, while Tran's family prays she pulls through.

"I hope she's going to make it, just hope," said Tran's sister Somphone Siviseth.

Tran was checking the mail on her way home on Christmas Eve when, according to court records, an intoxicated Layfield veered off the road, first hit the mailboxes and then her, sending her over the fence.

"She flew up, hit the tree, falling down -- didn't even move," Tran's brother-in-law, Kou Sisavat, said.

The crash drew neighbors out of their homes and away from their celebrations.

"The truck was on the side, like the wheels were facing the street," neighbor Jose Valadez said.

Tran's family has practically skipped Christmas. They've been at the hospital every day since.

"Right now she's still unconscious, so we don't know. Already five days, she still hasn't woken up yet," Sisavat said.

Layfield was one of 156 drivers charged in Harris County with intoxication crimes over the Christmas weekend during another No Refusal Program. According to the district attorney's office, 41 of those drivers had a blood alcohol content of greater than .15, nearly twice the legal limit of .08; and since September 1, a new law now makes that a Class A misdemeanor, which means potentially more jail time.

"If their blood-alcohol-content is .15 or above, they face up to a year in jail instead of 180 days in jail," DWI attorney Steve Shellist said.

Layfield is charged with intoxication assault because of Tran's serious injuries. He faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted, and she faces a long fight.

"They should put him away for a long time so they don't do it again," Sisavat said.

According to Harris County court records, this is the second alcohol-related offense for Layfield. But the first, a misdemeanor DWI back in 1986, has long been disposed. He is due in court in February.

Load Comments