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Texas Tech students charged with 3 deaths in pickup crash

A single-vehicle crash in Lubbock killed three men, including an elderly bicyclist and two passengers. The driver of a pickup truck, a student at Texas Tech, was injured but survived the crash.

Police were quick to arrest the 26-year-old upon the driver’s release from medical treatment at UMC several days after the fatal car accident. The student was charged with three counts of aggravated assault and an equal number of intoxication manslaughter counts.

Authorities were told the student was drinking the night the driver lost control of the pickup. A witness in the 500 block of University Avenue told police the truck was speeding before it rolled, slamming into and killing a 68-year-old man returning home from work on a bicycle.

The pickup overturned and skidded along a sidewalk on its passenger side until it smashed into a fire hydrant. The force of the crash drove the hydrant through the truck’s front windshield, killing two passengers. A 23-year-old man sitting in the front seat was struck by the hydrant and killed instantly. A 27-year-old rear seat occupant suffered the same fate.

Witnesses watched as the driver crawled through the broken windshield and into the street. Reports say the accused man was yelling as Lubbock police arrived at the accident scene.

Paramedics reported the survivor’s breath smelled of alcohol. The driver allegedly admitted he had been drinking to one of the emergency responders in the ambulance. When questioned about how much he had to drink, the suspect reportedly did not respond.

An attorney representing the accused drunk driver released a statement that mentioned immediate plans for the accused driver. The release stated that the Texas Tech student would leave Lubbock and the school for a semester to recover from accident injuries.

Source: kcbd.com, "Tech student indicted for intoxication manslaughter," Tiffany Pelt, Feb. 8, 2012

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