HOUSTON – A 79-year-old man charged with intoxication assault after police say he struck a Houston police officer appeared before a judge early Thursday.
Robert Zimmerman went before a judge in connection with the auto-pedestrian collision involving 24-year-old Officer Nestor Garcia.
Police say an SUV traveling up to 60 miles per hour struck him as he stood in the road.
Zimmerman is charged with intoxication assault of a public servant. He was freed after posting a $30,000 bond.
According to investigators with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office’s vehicular crimes unit, Zimmerman blew a triple-zero into the Breathalyzer at the scene. Zimmerman agreed to take a blood alcohol test. The DA’s office is awaiting the results of that test.
Investigators said Zimmerman told officers he drank one 24-ounce beer around 5 p.m. Tuesday, around the same time he had dinner.
Zimmerman said he regularly takes heart and sleeping medicine. He added that he took his sleeping medication at 10 p.m. Tuesday prior to the accident.
According to Houston Police Department, the incident occurred around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday as Officer Garcia was conducting a felony traffic stop in the southbound lanes of the Southwest Freeway near Dunlavy.
Zimmerman was slurring his speech and seemed "detached" from the whole situation.
Doctors said Garcia suffered a variety of injuries including a head wound, abdominal injuries and fractures. At last check, Garcia was out of surgery, stable, but still critical.
“When you have so many internal injuries, you’ve got to just see what the next 24, 48, 72 hours will bring,” said HPD Chief Art Acevedo.
Officer Garcia was standing between two parked cruisers when police say Zimmerman allegedly plowed right through.
Records show Zimmerman has no criminal history in Harris County other than traffic citations.
“The point is that anybody doing this recklessly in Houston, who causes this kind of damage is going to be arrested and prosecuted,” said District Attorney Kim Ogg.
Officer Garcia’s in-the-line-of-duty injury comes just a little more than a year after he joined HPD.
Chief Acevedo says Garcia’s family appreciates all of the thoughts and prayers.