Longtime Houston judge accused in hit-and-run


Not only is that judge at the center of a hit-and-run case, she's also being accused of trying to get rid of evidence when she was confronted by police.

Two charges were filed late Wednesday afternoon against Gladys Bransford, a part-time judge at Houston municipal court.

"You can see my hand; it's still swollen," Graciela Al-Muhammadawy said.

With her hand still bruised and swollen, Al-Muhammadawy told us what happened to her on Tuesday. She was apparently hit by a black Mercedes trying to park in the handicapped parking spot at a 99 Cents store.

"When she opened the car, I was shaking. I asked her to call an ambulance and also if she had insurance. She said yes, let me call my insurance and then an ambulance for you but then she drove back and ran away," Al-Muhammadawy said.

Al-Mahammadawy took down the license plate number and police tracked the vehicle, and its driver to Bransford, a longtime Houston municipal court judge.

Neighbor Don Moore saw police activity on Tuesday but still can't believe it.

"This would be totally out of character, totally out of character, so I am at a loss for words," Moore said.

Sources say Judge Bransford allededly tried to wipe a hand print from her car when confronted by police and her car was impounded.

"As time progressed, eventually a tow truck showed up and towed off one of the vehicles," Moore said.

The city's municipal court says the judge wasn't scheduled to work Wednesday. She's been charged with failure to stop and render aid as well as tampering with evidence.

"We're all citizens here, we're all under regulations, we're all responsible for what we do," Al-Muhammadawy said.

Another shopper at the 99 Cents store helped Al-Muhammadawy call 911. But she says just doesn't understand why the judge didn't stop.

"A nice new Mercedes and she looked very nice, very good people. Why did she run way? She has insurance," Al-Muhammadawy said.

Officials say Bransford's been a judge at the municipal court for many years. She was a full-time judge but is currently working on a part-time basis.

The City of Houston Municipal Courts Department issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon which read:

    "The City of Houston Municipal Courts Department has learned that Associate Judge Gladys Bransford was allegedly involved in a criminal incident yesterday. Pending the outcome of this matter, Judge Bransford has been temporarily relieved of her duties as a part-time judge and will not preside over any Municipal Court proceedings."

Bransford has not yet been arrested. We're told in situations like this, she'll most likely be allowed to turn herself in.

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