HPD crash reports cite driver, pedestrian as intoxicated on morning of fatal collision

Category: Pedestrian Accidents

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The driver of the pickup truck who fatally struck Shady Acres resident Ryan Lutz and his dog while they were jogging early April 5 admitted to speeding at the time and hit a parked car later that morning on the same street, according to the Houston Police Department crash reports obtained by The Leader, which show the driver was suspected of being under the influence of prescription drugs at the time of the second collision.

The accident report for the first collision, which occurred at 6:05 a.m. in the 900 block of West 25th Street, shows the victim Lutz had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13, which is nearly two times the legal limit in Texas. Lutz, 35, was transported to Ben Taub General Hospital after the crash and died from his injuries 10 days later, according to a news release from HPD.

Lutz’s wife, Izaura Lutz, said she disputes that her husband would have had that much alcohol in his system early on a Tuesday morning, saying he was an occasional beer drinker who had a strict diet and was training for an upcoming marathon in the couple’s home state of Colorado.

“There’s no way,” she said. “If he was drunk, the last thing he would do is go for a run.”

The April 18 news release from HPD said the 33-year-old driver of the black Chevrolet Silverado – who is not being named because he had not been charged with a crime as of Wednesday morning – was questioned at the scene, determined not to be impaired and released. The crash report for that incident, which cites the pedestrian Ryan Lutz as having failed to yield the right of way to a motor vehicle, says the driver was not tested for either alcohol or drugs.

Izaura Lutz questioned why her husband, after sustaining serious injuries during the crash, would have been tested for alcohol but not the driver who struck him and his dog, Orbit, who died at the scene.

In the accident report for the second collision, which occurred at 8:25 a.m. in the 700 block of West 25th Street, the responding investigator noted the driver was “under the influence of drugs” when he crashed into a parked Tesla Model 3 and admitted to having taken multiple prescription drugs. The crash report says a blood sample was drawn from the driver to test for the presence of drugs.

HPD spokesperson Jodi Silva said Monday the two crashes are under investigation, the department was awaiting toxicology results and that if the driver is determined to have been impaired at the time of the first collision, then the responding officers’ actions and determinations at the scene could come under scrutiny. When asked later Monday about the possibility that the blood-alcohol level attributed to Ryan Lutz on the crash report could have been entered incorrectly, HPD spokesperson Victor Senties said, “All the aspects of this thing are being looked into.

“If there was some erroneous information put in, that would all be part of the investigation,” he added. “This is still active and ongoing.”

Senties declined to further discuss details about the crashes or answer questions about them, including a question seeking to determine what time the responding investigators released the driver from the scene of the first crash. Silva said the driver theoretically could have taken prescription drugs at some point after the first collision.

Heights-area resident Samantha Gieseke, who said she is the girlfriend of the owner of the parked Tesla that was struck, questioned the timing of the second collision as it’s listed on the HPD crash report. She said the collision happened between 8:05 and 8:10 a.m.

Gieseke also told The Leader she interacted with the driver shortly after the crash and that he appeared disoriented.

“It was like his head was just in the clouds,” she said.

The driver was traveling east in both instances, according to the crash reports, which also show that Ryan Lutz and the parked Tesla were both on the south side of West 25th Street at the times they were struck. The crash reports also show that the home addresses for both Lutz and the driver are within a few blocks of where the crashes occurred.

The report for the first collision cites statements made by the driver, who told police he had been sick since the Sunday beforehand and was on his way to a store to get coffee. He admitted to traveling “around 40” mph in a 30 mph zone and also said, “I never drink alcohol,” according to the crash report.

“I never saw the male in the street. I just felt and heard the impact,” the driver also said, according to the crash report. “I pulled over and called 911. I tried to administer CPR.”

Gieseke said the second collision later on the morning of April 5 totaled her boyfriend’s Tesla, which was parked in a grassy shoulder and struck on the rear left side, according to the crash report. The report also says the driver was transported to Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital “due to his admission that he had taken multiple prescription drugs,” and that “no citation was issued on scene due to the DWI investigation.”

Cited in the crash report for the second collision is the testimony of another witness who said the driver was “swerving erratically” while crossing the North Durham Drive intersection and hit the Tesla while traveling between 30-40 mph.

“It felt like to me he was reckless,” Gieseke said. “He should not have been behind the wheel.”

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See the original article here: https://www.theleadernews.com/community/hpd-crash-reports-cite-driver-pedestrian-as-intoxicated-on-morning-of-fatal-collision/article_e9c40932-c661-11ec-be75-fbc936ba9c80.html

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