Three months ago, Frank and Debbie Nicolai's life was turned upside-down.
"I woke up to her screaming and said, 'What's going on?'" said Frank.
Their daughter, Carrie, was killed while in the back of an HPD cruiser.
"Wondering what her last thoughts were," said Debbie. "Did she suffer? It's just been very difficult."
The aspiring chef had been detained and was being transported to a sobriety center while handcuffed in the back of the police car. A suspected drunk driver struck the vehicle.
Nicole Moser is now charged with intoxication manslaughter. She's out on bond, but due in court next month.
Carrie was ejected and killed. Houston police said after the accident, she was not properly restrained in the police unit. The Police Officer's Association has said it's policy to use a seatbelt on cruiser transports.
The Nicolais want to know why one wasn't used for their daughter.
"If I was out driving and pulled over without a seatbelt, I would get in trouble," said Debbie. "That's where I'm out, very angry."
The couple is talking for the first time since filing a December lawsuit against HPD and Officer R. Gonzalez.
"They didn't have to pick her up but once they did they darn sure needed to make sure she was safe," said attorney Ross Sears, who is representing the family. "And if she wasn't safe in the back seat of a police car, that's the once place you should be safe."
Carrie Nicolai is described as a young woman of conviction. Now, her parents say they are taking a stand for her
HPD says it's conducting an internal investigation on the officer. As for the city, they say they're not going to offer any additional comments at this time because of this pending lawsuit.
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