DWI suspect charged with murder following deadly wreck

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A man convicted in two driving while intoxication arrests is charged with murder after allegedly striking a man along the Eastex Freeway and killing him on Monday.

Hermeregildo Portales, 57, now is charged with murder. Police say Portales was driving his truck when he slammed into Osvaldo Gracia, who was standing by a stalled Mazda near an entrance ramp near Tidwell Road. Police said another man in that Mazda was injured and taken to an area hospital.

"There was the sound of breaks, and then a tremendous crash," said eyewitness Brian Allen Bibeau.

Bibeau said Portales' truck was seen screeching in front of his SUV, narrowly missing him. He said he stopped to help Portales.

"He seemed very disoriented but it appeared to be entirely from the crash. He appeared to be sober, not inhibited by any other means," said Bibeau. "They said that there were some open containers, but again this particular guy at that particular time did not seem like it."

ABC-13 has learned Portales has a long history of DWI arrests. According to court records, he's been arrested for DWI three times since 1980. The Harris County District Attorney's Office said Portales was convicted twice for the crimes. He was charged with murder because this was his alleged third strike, which elevated the crime to a felony status.
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