Driver in deadly HEB crash may not face any charges

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Police say the mom died protecting her two-year-old daughter when the SUV slammed into the store (KTRK)

Still no charges, much less a citation, has been given to an elderly driver who ran her SUV into a busy southeast Houston HEB store, injuring six people and killing a mother.

"For officers to do nothing, they're not doing their job," said ABC-13 legal analyst Joel Androphy. "That's unfortunate because the same person can do this over and over again."

Photos from inside the H-E-B


Androphy said a citation would have at least put a ding on the woman's driving record. The elderly driver, who's name has not been officially released by HPD, was let go after being questioned by police. She is technically free to drive again. The HPD officer investigating the crash could still issue a citation and also has the power to request through a crash report to DPS that the woman's driving competency be reviewed by the Texas Medical Advisory Board, a state board that has the power to revoke a driver's license.

Androphy said he's doubtful the driver will get charged criminally because he said two negligent factors must be present. A blood draw was taken. The results of that sample could determine whether charges should be filed.

"They get away with, not murder, you get away with manslaughter," Androphy said.

The area where the SUV hit is still boarded up, but shoppers returned to the store, many of them wondering why those stone barriers in front didn't keep the vehicle from hitting the grocery store.

"That could've been me," one woman said. "It could've been anyone, you know? You go to the store you don't think these accidents happen."

The young mother killed was 31-year-old Carla Sanchez. She was in the checkout line with her two-year-old daughter and sister. They were among the six others hurt.

Police say a 74-year-old woman backed out of her parking spot and drove through a set of glass doors, knocking one of the stone barriers off its base.

"They probably need to take a look at those and see if they can secure those a little better, but you would imagine that they are anchored a lot better than obviously what they are," said Jarrone Williams, an H-E-B shopper.

"It definitely needs to be looked at and I think they need to figure out another solution because this obviously isn't working," said Lesley Barnes, another shopper.

H-E-B is investigating, but didn't provide abc13 with an update Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, inside the store, employees are still talking about what happened.

"You can tell it affected the people in there," said one shopper.

"The feeling is definitely tense, employees are in there talking about it," Williams said.

No charges have been filed against the 74-year-old driver. Her husband tells abc13 she doesn't know what happened, but thinks the SUV made a strange sound right before the accident. He says she isn't on prescription medicine and has a good driving record.
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