HPD investigating 2015 crash involving driver who later killed Pearland cop while drunk

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Police Department has launched an internal affairs investigation following questions raised by ABC13 about the way an officer responded to a wreck in 2015.

One of the drivers in that collision later went on to drive drunk and kill a Pearland police officer.

Amber Willemsen was sentenced to 32 years in prison earlier this week after a jury found her guilty of driving drunk and killing Office Endy Ekpanya in June 2016.

At trial, several witnesses recounted a June 2015 wreck in which Willemsen was never arrested or charged.

Carmen Waldron said she was driving on the Northwest Freeway when she was struck from behind by Willemsen in a vehicle traveling about 60 miles per hour.

"All of a sudden, I just got hit and then hit again," said Waldron.

VIDEO: HPD announces internal affairs investigation

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Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo announces an internal affairs investigation into an incident with Amber Willemsen.

Waldron said it was when she went to see if Willemsen was OK that she realized what had happened.

"It smelled like liquor when you opened the door. You could smell it. You could tell she was drunk," Waldron said.

Waldron insists she would know -- she's been a bartender and has been TABC certified to recognize signs of intoxication.

She said Willemsen begged her not to call the police, but she did.

When an officer arrived, Waldron said, he never did a field sobriety test and never arrested Willemsen. There is no mention of any suspicion of insobriety in the officer's report. Willemsen would later say in court that the officer dropped her at a Denny's and told her to get a ride and get her life together.

"I think that she got away with it," said Waldron.

A year later, Willemsen drove drunk and killed Officer Ekpanya. Only at trial did anything about the prior wreck come out. Not only did Waldron testify about Willemsen's apparent insobriety, so did the wrecker driver who responded that night in 2015.

"Had the police officer that had my wreck done his job correctly, another officer would still be here," said Waldron.

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