Scooter crash marks Galveston's 5th death in DUI wrecks in over a week

Brooke Taylor Image
Thursday, August 18, 2022
Scooter crash marks Galveston's 5th death in DUI wrecks in over a week
Even as Galveston leaders are addressing drunk driving crashes after four family members lost their lives, the island again has to confront another incident that killed someone.

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Five people in Galveston have now been killed in DUI crashes in just a little more than a week.

The most recent one happened on Sunday evening after police say an accused drunk driver blew a stop sign, hitting and killing a man on a scooter.

The victim has been identified as John David Bell, 53, who owns a scooter rental company nearby, according to his family member.

NOTE: Galveston police initially reported that Bell was 49, but later provided an update that he was actually 53.

"Everyone loved John. There was no one he wouldn't help," James Statham, his brother, said. "He loved the life down there. He loved the beach, to go fishing."

Bell turned at an intersection on 53rd Street and Avenue U, when police say a blue Nissan Altima traveling northbound ran the stop sign, hitting the scooter. As a result of the impact, Bell was ejected from the scooter and landed on the windshield of a pickup truck that was stopped at the intersection.

John David Bell, pictured, was identified as the victim killed in a Galveston scooter crash involving a driver suspected of DUI.

"There were no skid marks, I don't believe," Claude Stephens, a neighbor who was having dinner with his wife outside, said. "So he just hit him full steam, full force."

Yordanny Ferrer has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, and a judge set bond at $250,000.

The details are eerily similar to another deadly crash that happened eight days ago, just minutes away.

On Aug. 6, Galveston police say an accused drunk driver ran a stop sign and hit a family in a golf cart, killing 4 family members.

Miguel Espinoza, who is from Rosenberg, is charged with four counts of intoxication manslaughter and is being held on a $400,000 bond.

SEE ALSO: Candlelight vigil held in honor of 4 family members killed in Galveston golf cart crash

"Our world was shattered, and we will never be OK, but it makes it easier knowing everyone showed up," one family member said to the crowd.

Days later, the Galveston City Council met to discuss possible changes to the golf cart ordinance, including banning golf carts at night on public streets and banning golf carts entirely.

ABC13's Brooke Taylor sat down with Galveston Mayor Craig Brown after the two deadly DUI crashes.

"Now that you have two incidents involving drunk drivers, at what point do you say, 'Maybe let's look at how to look at drunk driving rather than the other modes of transportation?'" Taylor asked.

"One of our primary thoughts is how to address drunk driving," Mayor Brown said. "This morning, I had a discussion about enhanced enforcement of our traffic laws."

When asked what that would look like, the mayor said it would be more eyes on the streets to crack down on drunk drivers.

"We would have more officers on the streets actively enforcing speeding laws," Brown said.

According to Galveston Police Department, there have been 604 crashes related to alcohol or drugs from 2018 until 2022.

"Call a ride. Call up a friend. You don't just put everyone else's life in jeopardy but your own," Statham said.

READ MORE: Galveston golf cart crash suspect had bloodshot eyes, breath smelled of alcohol, filing reads

A grandfather, his niece, and his two grandkids were killed after a drunk driver crashed into a golf cart in Galveston, police said.

For updates on this story, follow Brooke Taylor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.