105 underage drivers charged with DWI in first 100 days of year

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Harris County District Attorney's Vehicular Crime Division has been tracking underage DWIs since the start of the year and the numbers are staggering.

The most recent case happened Sunday morning. David Pickens was driving home to be with his wife and their six kids, ranging from three to 15 years old.

Prosecutors said he was hit by an alleged drunk driver who was 20 years old.

"He was a family-oriented person," said Pickens' wife Niesha Taylor-Pickens. "He made sure we were good no matter what."

As he was driving, prosecutor said Jose Balderas crashed into Pickens' vehicle head-on, killing him.

Early blood alcohol results show Balderas was three and a half times the legal limit, despite not being old enough to drink.

"It's not fair," said Taylor-Pickens. "It wasn't his time to go, and because some reckless 20-year-old decided they wanted to drink and drive, they took what I need. My kids need their dad."

The district attorney's office said in the first 100 days of this year, at least 103 underage drivers have been charged with DWI and two others were charged with intoxication manslaughter. That's a total of 105 drivers.

"It's shocking," said Sean Teare, chief of Harris County District Attorney's Vehicular Crimes Division.

For that reason, the district attorney is teaming up with other counties and law enforcement to crack down on underage drinking and driving. This initiative ranges from sting operations to going after the bars and people who are giving alcohol to minors.

"We're going to start arresting many, many more people that provide alcohol either in a bar setting, convenience store setting to these minors," said Teare. "We've got to go to the source."

Meanwhile, Pickens' funeral is scheduled for Monday, April 15.

His family said it's tough losing a man who made so many smile, but it's even tougher to know it could have been prevented.

"He's watching right now," said Taylor-Pickens. "I keep hearing him."

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