Woman killed in NW Harris County drunk driving crash was just shy of 21st birthday, family says

ByCourtney Carpenter KTRK logo
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Family honors 20-year-old killed by drunk driver in NW Harris Co.
Iyana Harris-Smith and her family were just about to celebrate her 21st birthday. Instead, her loved ones are pleading people not to drive drunk.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The Harris County District Attorney's Office accepted two intoxicated manslaughter charges this weekend and a third charge in a crash that killed a young woman early Monday morning.

So far in 2021, there are more of these deadly incidents than in 2020.

In 2019, there were 34 intoxication manslaughter charges in Harris County. In 2020, there were 36. So far this year, there have been 47.

Beyond the numbers, there are real families being impacted. Authorities say the car 20-year-old Iyana Harris-Smith was riding in early Monday morning was stopped at a red light at West FM 1960 and North Eldridge Parkway when a truck ran into the back of it.

SEE RELATED STORY: Suspected drunk driver slams into car stopped at light on FM 1960, killing 1

The driver of the truck, 35-year-old Rogelio Diaz-Garcia, has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.

"Iyana was the sweetest, most soft-spoken, hardworking young lady," said her mother, Reta Harris.

Harris-Smith's family said she graduated from Westside High school in 2019. They said she was kind, creative and loved dogs.

"She had such a love for music. She knew the songs that would be the next hit before they became popular," said Reta.

They were planning to celebrate Harris-Smith's birthday in Las Vegas next month.

"This was unnecessary. We were getting ready to celebrate," said Reta.

Harris-Smith's family is pleading people not get behind the wheel if they have been drinking.

"We have to just be safer as a society and do better in Houston," said Reta. "Houston is such a beautiful city and there's no reason, no excuse for our city to have this much drunk driving," said Imani Johnson, Iyana's sister.

"Please reconsider before you drink and drive. Reconsider it. Think about what could happen. You were out drinking and you decided to get behind the wheel, and now my baby is gone," said Reta.