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High speed and Xanax play role in fatal car crash

As Matt Ledesma reports for the Times Record News, mitigating factors apparently bolster Teddie Whitefield's case - 18-year-old Yeni Lopez was driving a car without a valid driver's license and she also may have been using a mobile phone - at the time that Whitefield slammed into Lopez's vehicle, causing a severe auto wreck that killed both Lopez and passenger Gloria Montoya, who was only 13.

The only problem is that Teddie Whitefield is a Texas police officer.

Despite going 80 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone, despite no pending emergency necessitating such high speeds, and despite test results showing Xanax in his bloodstream (as well as diet pills), Officer Whitefield says the claims against him are "legally insufficient" to support any punishment, including indefinite administrative suspension.

In the comments on Ledesma's report, 'ConcernedCitizen' writes: "I wonder if I had been driving almost 2x the posted speed limit, under the influence of drugs, and caused an accident that killed two young people and an unborn child, if the DA's office would be 'probing' and 'investigating' months later. I think not. I would be well down the path of being prosecuted and sent to prison."

Whether or not you agree with ConcernedCitizen, one thing is clear: Poor driving is poor driving. Even if the evidence does not support a criminal conviction, a jury considering the wrongful death claims of Lopez and Montoya may certainly find that there was some poor driving on the part of Whitefield.

Source: Times Record News, "Fatal police crash probed," by Matt Ledesma, 11/17/11

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