Deputies recall crash when twins blew through deadly wreck scene

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two injured deputy constables are back at work after prosecutors say twin brothers drove through an active scene on the freeway while drunk.

Deputy Matthew Self, of the Harris County Precinct 8 Deputy Constable's Office, was directing traffic at the scene of a deadly crash on the Sam Houston Tollway on the night of April 20.

"(I) had my high-visibility vest on, my flashlight, directing people to the lanes that they needed to go to," Self recalled.

Then, in an instant, a truck came right at him.

"Kept using my flashlight, trying to get him to go over. Realized he wasn't stopping," said Self.

The deputy started running. He says he then heard the truck's driver slam on the brakes that caused a car to rear-end the pickup.

According to the constable's office, James Bramlet was driving the truck and his twin brother Joseph was driving the car that hit him.

But it wasn't over.

"I heard the truck rev up, so I guess he slipped off the brake and hit the gas again, and I went between the front of my patrol car and the tow truck and just kept running," said Self.

That was when the truck slammed head on into K-9 Deputy Troy Brinkley's vehicle.

"It sounded like a bomb going off," said Self.

The front of Brinkley's SUV was smashed in.

"To see the driver's side door open and (Deputy Brinkley) just step out, I mean, it was a big relief. Big relief," Self recalled.

Brinkley's nose was bleeding and he had neck pain. Fortunately, his K-9 Evo was not hurt.

"I'm actually glad that my Tahoe was there for them to hit, because if he wouldn't have hit me, all of our people that were doing the reconstruction of the accident, taking the photos, were 10 to 15 yards behind me, and he would have kept going through there," said Brinkley.

Self had an injury to his ankle that he sustained while running away. Both deputies know it could have been much worse.

"It's scary to think about, but it's part of the job. We kind of just put it to the back of our minds and do what we have to do," said Brinkley.

They just hope the incident makes people think before drinking and driving. They said they see one too many DWIs.

Joseph Bramlet is charged with DWI with a child younger than 15-years-old, since prosecutors say a child was in the car. Joseph is due in court on June 20.

His brother James is charged with DWI and carrying a handgun in a motor vehicle. His next court date is in July.

The initial crash that the deputies were investigating involved a 19-year-old woman who was a passenger when the car she was riding in was stopped in a moving lane of traffic. She died as a result of the crash.

We've learned her driver stopped because he was intending on using the cash toll lane instead of the EZ Tag lane. A commercial vehicle crashed into them. Deputies say drivers should never stop in a moving lane of traffic, especially at night.

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