The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has announced that charges will be dismissed against a man who has spent the past three months in jail for allegedly running over a 6-year-old in a southwest Houston parking lot.
What’s the background?
TheBlaze previously reported that 52-year-old Pedro Alberto Hernandez was charged with felony murder and driving under the influence after he allegedly mowed down 6-year-old Darien Lewis on Oct. 1. His bond was set at $950,000.
Hernandez allegedly ran over Lewis at least three times, stopping with his wheel atop the child’s face as the victim’s mortified grandfather shouted out, “My grandson, my grandson.”
The grandfather reportedly pulled Hernandez out of the car and detained him with the help of other witnesses until police arrived.
Houston police indicated that Lewis and his grandfather were on their way to a nearby store when the incident occurred.
At the time of his arrest, Hernandez reportedly told police he had consumed four 16-ounce beers before getting inside his Chevrolet Tahoe to meet someone who owned him money.
Hernandez had been serving probation at the time for a 2020 DUI conviction — not his first DUI conviction.
He was also convicted of drunk driving in Harris County in 2015 and in Freestone County in 2016.
Despite his alleged admission of alcoholic consumption, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office — helmed by George Soros-backed DA Kim Ogg — now claims that the interlock device in Hernandez’s Tahoe, in place due to the earlier DUI charge, would have precluded him from driving over the child had he been drunk.
According to Hernandez’s attorney, Daniel Werlinger, his toxicology report also came back clean.
“I think [police] jumped to conclusions,” Werlinger told KTRK. “I think they came out to a scene. You have a dead child. A man driving a vehicle that has an interlock on it .You run his information and you see he is on a current DWI, third probation and you just assume it is what it is, but after actually revealing the toxicological evidence, clearly those opinions, that were formed on that day, were wrong.”
Ogg’s office suggested that Lewis was alone in the parking lot and that there was a possibility Hernandez didn’t see him on account of his vehicle’s raised tires, KHOU 11 reported.
Hernandez, newly freed, told KTRK that “parents have to be careful and hold their children by their hand. … Kids will be kids and dart off in any direction.”
Ogg’s office filed to dismiss the charges against Hernandez, citing “insufficient evidence of defendant’s guilt.”
Suzanne Garofalo, a spokesman for the office, said, “It was not a pursuable case.”
Sean Teare, also with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, indicated they couldn’t prove that Hernandez was drunk when he ran over Lewis.
The victim’s family held a news conference Tuesday, in which they suggested that Ogg’s office had “secretly dismissed charges.”
“Something has to be done,” said Lewis’ grandfather Dana Hubbard, who maintains that he and police smelt booze on Hernandez’s breath. “A slap on the wrist, don’t be scared to prosecute. The result there was a life taken.”
Days after Lewis’ death, his family released prayers and balloons into the sky near the scene of the incident in tribute of the child.
Hubbard told Fox 26, “When you get the chance, you go back home. Find your kids. Hug your kids, tell them that you love them.”
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