Arlington teen laid to rest as questions swirl around 'ignition interlock,' speed in accident

Driver using breathalyzer caused deadly crash

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A popular and ambitious 18-year-old graduate of Arlington's Martin High School was laid to rest by family and friends on Tuesday.

Alexis, or Lexxy, Butler was severely injured in a car crash earlier this month. She later died at the hospital.

"Her smile and laugh were incredible," her mother told WFAA.

The family shared a video montage that shows a fun-loving, adventurous girl clearly excited about becoming a cosmetologist. 

The dream was cut short a week and a half ago when Arlington police say Lexxy was backing out of a driveway on Redstone Drive.

As she reversed onto the road, her Toytoa Camry was struck hard by a pickup truck traveling eastbound.

According to Lt. Chris Cook, the driver of that truck says he was distracted because he was forced to blow into an ignition interlock device moment before the crash.

"He has to provide a [breath] specimen every 15 minutes. He said he looked down for three to four seconds, and never saw her vehicle, and that's when the collision occurred," said Cook.

An accident report identifies the driver as Blake Cowan, 31.

According to court documents, Cowan has been arrested for DWI twice, and the second case prompted the installation of the breathalyzer device.

"Certainly, we would never say that if someone is having to operate a device like that, that they look down from the roadway," said Cook. 

No charges have been filed at this point.

Investigators are also trying to determine if speed was a factor.

The notion that the device may have played a role in the crash is a legal situation most local attorneys told WFAA they've never encountered.

"I've never seen that," said Alex Kim, who handles a lot of DWI related cases. 

"At this point, if it was just speeding or careless driving, as tragic as it is, I'm not sure that rises to the level of a felony," he said.

Police say they are checking the truck's data system to collect more evidence. They're also doing an accident reconstruction analysis, which should be done next week.

When reached by phone on Tuesday evening, Cowan hung up.

A spokeswoman for the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office said attorneys there also couldn't recall a case or scenario where an interlock device factored into a fatal wreck.

Ultimately, it will be Arlington police and the DA's office that decide on any charges.

The Butler family released this hearfelt statement in addition to the video and photos:

She was larger than life - everyone loved Lexxy -Her laugh, her smile, her bubbly personality. She touched so many people’s lives in just her short 18 years, more than most will touch in a lifetime. Her legacy will continue to live on through her final selfless act of organ and tissue donation, which she elected. She will continue to touch lives even in death. We know we’ll see Lexxy again in Heaven and she’ll be an angel watching over us.

 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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