Deadly Fort Bend County crash finally goes to court

More than two years after a wreck that killed a beloved mother and grandmother, her family says they are finally getting some justice
February 17, 2014 7:01:22 PM PST
It is a long awaited day in court for a grieving Fort Bend County family. More than two years after the wreck that killed a beloved mother and grandmother, her family says they are finally getting some justice.

This was an awful accident but awful doesn't always mean criminal. And while the Fort Bend DA says his team did everything right on this case, it's tough for this family to wait so long and wonder if anyone's to blame for killing their mother.

Doris Walters was a mother of six, a shining light to 22 grandkids when she was killed in a horrific accident on the Southwest Freeway in July 2011.

"She was our rock," said Doris' son Joey Hutchinson.

A tractor trailer coming up on stopped rush hour traffic plowed into the back of Doris' Lincoln town car.

A private investigator said the truck driver never hit the brakes until he hit Doris' car.

"We need justice for her death and that's what it's all about," said Hutchinson

And that is what began today in a Fort Bend County courtroom, as the truck driver Billy Gene McDade was brought to court for the first time since the accident two and a half years ago. McDade denies any criminal act.

"This guys never seen the inside of a courtroom," said Doris' son Donnie Kelley.

"And that bugs you?" we asked.

"Yeah," he responded.

Police officers said in initial reports that the driver failed to control his speed but McDade complained of a swerving small car other witnesses never saw.

But the reports sat on an assistant Fort Bend DA's desk for nearly 10 months while that Assistant DA was out on sick leave. Once the family complained about the delay, another assistant picked it up, took it to a grand jury that failed to indict.

"We met with the DA and he told us there wasn't enough evidence and we were floored," said Hutchinson.

"I felt compelled to see what I could do," said a friend of the family, Ronnie Bird.

Bird, is a friend of the victim's family and a retired Houston police lieutenant. Bird collected the same evidence the DA had and in a rare, if not unprecedented move, convinced a judge to allow him to present the case directly to the grand jury going around DA John Healey's office. Bird got the indictment the DA didn't.

"Not new evidence, the evidence was there all along. It tells you the DA's office is not doing their job," said Kelley.

"It got the attention it deserved; it was presented to a grand jury. This is probably a classic case of 12 citizens looking at the same information differently," said District Attorney John Healey.

Fort Bend district attorney Healey says he understands the family's loss and grief but this is the process and he plans to prosecute McDade despite the family's anger.

"They're upset because in their mind this case hasn't gotten the attention it should have," said Healey.

"Has it?" we asked.

"In the way it should? Yes, it has," said Healey.

DA Healey says the delay was not bad work on his part but waiting for tests on evidence. The truck driver's lawyer says his client continues to drive and mourns the loss as well.

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