An allegedly intoxicated driver — arrested for allegedly triggering a seven-car pileup that killed a mom and three children near Houston — had been pulled over and let go just 30 minutes before the crash, authorities said Tuesday.
The deadly crash happened Sunday at about 8:30 p.m. CT near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 2920 and Gosling Road when suspect Daniel Canada, 35, rear-ended a car that carried a 28-year-old woman and her three young sons, authorities said.
The woman and her 7-month old were pronounced dead at the scene, while two others kids were rushed to the hospital. Her 5-year-old died on Sunday and the 2-year-old died Monday, a spokeswoman for Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said Tuesday.
”This is a tragedy,” Herman told reporters. “It is a situation of … a possible suspected impaired driver who basically snuffs a family out of existence.”
Canada was “at fault” as his “vehicle struck the victim’s vehicle from behind at a high rate of speed at the intersection, causing the victim’s vehicle to strike the vehicle in front of her,” Herman said in a statement.
Just 30 minutes earlier and about eight miles away, Canada had been pulled over for speeding on the northbound frontage road of Interstate 45 at Parramatta Lane, Harris County Sheriff’s spokesman Jason Spencer said in a statement to NBC News on Tuesday.
Canada surrendered a “small amount of marijuana” to the deputy, who “told the driver the suspected marijuana would be tested in a lab and that criminal charges could be filed at a later date, depending on the outcome of that testing,” Spencer said.
“The deputy reported that the driver displayed no outward signs of impairment and was released from custody,” according to Spencer. “The incident will be reviewed by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Division to determine whether all applicable policies were followed.”
Canada was charged with three counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of Intoxication assault. His bail was set at $160,000.
He was still in the hospital recovering from his injuries on Tuesday, Herman’s spokeswoman said.
It wasn’t clear Tuesday if Canada had hired or been assigned an attorney yet.
David K. Li
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.