DALLAS — Two people are dead and three people suspected of driving while intoxicated have been arrested after a five-car wreck on North Central Expressway near Fitzhugh Avenue in the Knox/Henderson area early Sunday morning, Dallas police said.
Police said around 2:20 a.m., a stalled car started the deadly chain of events.
“There was a car just sitting there in the middle of the freeway with lights off, no hazard or brake lights,” said Karissa Velasco, witness.
Police said 24-year-old Grayson Tsai Meu Chong was driving that stalled car and was drunk.
Velasco and her 10-year-old son were returning home from a friend’s house.
Velasco said she was trying to drive around Chong's car, when 28-year-old Jose Salazar-Reza slammed into them. Police said Salazar-Reza too was drunk.
Velasco said she called 911 and while talking to the operator, 31-year-old Marsalis Brown was speeding in his Audi and slammed into all of them.
Police said a 5th car that was trying to avoid the crashes was also struck, killing a 31-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman. The man was driving, and the woman was a passenger in the car. Their names will not be released until next of kin has been notified.
“When the car flew over us, we thought it was going to land on us, and all I could see was smoke,” said Velasco.
She said she couldn’t see her son.
“And I was screaming. I don’t know how to describe the scream but as a mom, when you think your son has passed away. It was the most ugly scream,” said Velasco.
Velasco said her son ended up being OK. She said when she got out of her car Salazar-Reza, the suspected drunk driver who hit her, was on the phone.
“He had his hand on his head, and he was talking on the phone and said I didn’t drink that much, and that’s all I heard. And I wanted to run up and hit him for not paying attention,” said Velasco.
Police arrested Salazar-Reza and Chong for DWI. Brown was arrested for two counts of intoxication manslaughter.
According the arrest affidavit, police said Brown told them, “I lost control.” When police asked if Brown had been drinking, he said “yes.”
Dallas police said they did have their eight-member DWI squad out Sunday morning, but acknowledged they need more officers -- especially during the holiday season looking for drunk drivers.
“So, the goal is to not only deter through arrests, but for people to know that we are out there,” said Dallas Assistant Police Chief Albert Martinez.
Dallas police are also trying to get a grant that would allow them to put more than half a dozen unmarked cars on highways to spot aggressive and drunk drivers. But police said they also need people to be more responsible.
“If you know you’re going to get behind the wheel, the simplest thing to do is not drink or have a designated driver,” said Martinez.
Dallas police said it’s an age-old message, but people still drink and drive, and sometimes the consequences are deadly.
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