DA: Deputy legally drunk in fatal wreck

HOUSTON The Harris County Sheriff's office held a press conference this afternoon confirming that /*Deputy Craig Miller's*/ blood alcohol content was .27. That's more than three times the legal limit.

Eyewitness News has also learned that the 20-year veteran deputy, who worked in a special investigative unit for the sheriff's office was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

It was February 21. Officials say Miller, who had already worked that day, was at his home in Katy when he got the call to relieve another deputy on a surveillance assignment.

It was around 8:00pm and Miller was on the feeder road of the Katy Freeway when a box truck driven by /*Jose Vieyra*/, who is now charged in the death, pulled out in front of him. Deputy Miller died at the scene.

Now, three weeks later, we find out he was drunk and driving. Officials say he did not indicate to his supervisor he was intoxicated before he left home, on-duty.

"We depend on our deputies, in final analysis, to use their judgment of when they can't report to work," said Chief Danny Billingsley with the Harris County Sheriff's office. "There's no way I can implement a policy to cover every situation. There's obviously a policy in place that you don't report to work intoxicated."

Chief Billingsley also revealed that there were no skid marks, which means Deputy Miller did not react. When asked whether a person who was not drunk could have avoided this accident, Billingsley replied that there's just no way to know right now.

Chief Billingsley also told Eyewitness News that the medical examiner's report indicated that Deputy Miller was a heavy drinker. His family responded with a statement saying that what they're hearing about his blood alcohol content is not consistent with who he was as a person.

The sheriff's office says the revelation that Deputy Miller was drunk does not affect the fact that he was killed in the line of duty. Vieyra remains charged with criminally negligent homicide. He is in the Harris County jail. The district attorney's office says they still plan to prosecute Vieyra on that charge.

Thursday's news about Deputy Miller has civil rights organizations speaking out. Read what they had to say.

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