Man wanted in fatal hit-and-run of Houston musician

Jessica Willey Image
Sunday, March 6, 2022
Man wanted for fatal hit-and-run of Houston musician
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At the time of the crash, driver Gregory Dewayne Smith was out of jail on a personal bond for a misdemeanor DWI.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Authorities have issued a warrant to arrest a 30-year-old man wanted for a hit-and-run crash that left a Houston musician dead and his friend injured in January 2022.

Records show that Gregory Dewayne Smith has been charged with failure to stop and render aid involving death. The fatal hit-and-run killed 32-year-old Ezequiel Quintanilla in southeast Houston.

Ezequiel Quintanilla, a well-known accordion player, and a friend were walking in the parking lot after watching a friend's band at El Buho bar when they were struck. Quintanilla was run over and died at the scene, according to investigators.

Police say the friend was injured and survived.

"It's been terrible. I can't even talk about it that much because I start choking up," said Noe Quintanilla, Ezequiel Quintanilla's brother. "He was a happy person. He had no enemies. He was a hard worker."

Court records say Smith's passenger told police they had been drinking and that "he yelled he thought he just ran over someone." She also said they left the scene.

At the time, Smith was out of jail on a personal bond for a May 2021 misdemeanor DWI.

"Only somebody who has no conscience would do something like that. You can't even classify someone like that as a person," Noe Quintanilla translated for his mother.

Smith's attorney Edward Okwueze called into question the passenger's account, saying parts are contradictory. Court records say she also told police she did not recall leaving the bar or getting into Smith's black pickup.

"It's a bit mind-boggling," Okwueze told ABC13. "It creates reasonable doubt."

Smith is not in Texas but plans to turn himself in next week, according to Okwueze.

"Everything on his time. 'I'll turn myself in when I'm ready,'" Noe Quintanilla said in frustration. "My brother wasn't ready. He didn't have that time. He didn't have that choice."

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