FORT WORTH, Texas (AP)
A teenage driver who caused a horrific wreck that left four people dead in North Texas was under the influence the night of the crash, authorities said Tuesday.
The 16-year-old's blood-alcohol level was 0.24 percent, three times the legal limit for drivers 21 and older, Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson told reporters at a briefing on the investigation. He and other friends were seen on surveillance video stealing two cases of beer from a Wal-Mart before the crash, Anderson said. He was going as fast as 70 mph at the time of the crash.
The teen crashed his pickup truck in southern Tarrant County, killing 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell, the driver of a disabled SUV, and three people trying to help her.
"During my time at the sheriff's office, I truly believe this is probably the most difficult accident scene we've ever had to work," Anderson said.
The 16-year-old had seven teenagers in his truck, Anderson said. One of them remains hospitalized in serious condition. Anderson said authorities believe the group was drinking before they stole the beer.
The sheriff's office referred the case to the Tarrant County district attorney's office. Anderson said the 16-year-old likely would be tried as a juvenile. Melody McDonald, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney, said she was unable to say when and what charges will be filed.
"Although initial paperwork has been received, there are still significant details that need to be developed," the email said. "We have not yet received all of the information necessary for us to properly prepare our case."
The crash also killed 21-year-old Shelby Boyles, her 52-year-old mother, Hollie Boyles, and 43-year-old youth pastor Brian Jennings, who were trying to assist Mitchell.