Trial begins for alleged drunk driver accused of killing jailer when she was just 19

May 8, 2013 4:45:51 PM PDT
A young woman on trial in the death of a Harris County jailer in what prosecutors believe was a drunk driving crash. Revelations were made in court Wednesday about the partying the alleged drunk driver did before the wreck and some chilling statements she made right after it. It was July 2010, on Highway 59 at Aldine Bender, where a horrific wreck claimed the life of Greg Hundl, 25. He was a Harris County jailer just blocks away from home after a shift at work.

"He had been in the navy and fought for our country," said assistant Harris County district attorney Britni Cooper. "He was a volunteer firefighter and he worked as a jailer at the Harris County jail."

Hundl was struck from behind by an SUV. Investigators say it was driven by then-19-year-old Michele Arnold and that she ran into a wooded area in a panic after the impact. A deputy discovered her, scraped and barefoot not far from the scene.

Chris Hall was that deputy. He testified that Arnold was distraught and that she said to him, "God, I messed up."

Hall says Arnold was crying and continued to ask him, "Tell me that guy's going to be OK."

Jordan Maranthis testified she had been drinking with Arnold in the hours before the wreck. She says Arnold was allowed into a nightclub downtown even though she was only 19. Maranthis says Arnold had several drinks that night and appeared intoxicated when they left the club at 2am, even drinking straight from a bottle in the parking lot of that club after closing.

KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy says that revelation will not help Arnold's case.

He said, "All they have to prove is she was intoxicated. If you're intoxicated and you kill somebody, you're responsible."

Arnold's attorney refused to talk to us Wednesday but asked the jury to keep an open mind. If convicted, she could receive anything from probation to 20 years in prison.

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