Police: Drunk driver driver stopped 20 minutes before causing a crash that killed mom and three children

SPRING, TX – A driver who is facing four counts of intoxication manslaughter for a crash that killed a mother and her three children was reportedly pulled over about 20 minutes prior to the crash for speeding – but was let go by the deputy for not showing signs of inebriation

According to Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, 35-year-old Daniel Canada has been accused as being responsible for the seven-vehicle crash from March 14th that resulted in a mother and her three children dying due to the impact. 

Officials say that the crash occurred on FM 2920 near Gosling Road at around 8:30 p.m. on March 14th, when the 28-year-old mother and her three children were stopped at a red light when they were struck from the rear by a vehicle allegedly being driven by Canada. 

The impact of the crash was so severe that it caused the woman’s vehicle to go up in flames. 

Both the mother and her 7-month-old child were pronounced dead at the scene, with her 5-year-old and 2-year-old later passing away after they were transferred to a hospital. 

According to officials, Canada’s blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was at 0.15% – which is nearly twice the legal limit for Texas. 

Constable Herman referred to the deadly crash as a “tragedy”, saying that his precinct will do everything they can to hold the suspect accountable in this matter: 

“This is a tragedy. This is a situation of, again, a possible impaired driver who basically snuffs a family out of existence. We at Precinct 4 will do everything we can investigatively to prosecute this individual and hold him accountable.”

What’s of particular concern in this case was that Canada was actually stopped roughly 20 minutes prior to the crash by a deputy from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for speeding. 

However, the deputy who’d pulled Canada over was said to have not seen any signs of intoxication.

In a statement provided by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the following was revealed about the stop prior to the crash: 

“The deputy had the driver exit the vehicle and briefly detained him. The driver told the deputy he had a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle, which the deputy took into evidence.”

Despite the small amount of marijuana, the deputy reportedly let Canada go on his way. 

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Division is currently reviewing the stop in question to determine whether all policies were followed by the unidentified deputy. 

Constable Herman says when it comes to getting behind the wheel while drunk, it’s an act that is “100% preventable”: 

“Driving impaired is 100% preventable. Don’t do it. It’s a choice.”

Damian House, who lost his wife and children in the crash, is still coming to grips with the immense loss of his family: 

“Everything is ruined because of one stupid mistake of a person.”

House had spoken out about the tragedy shortly after he’d learned that his 2-year-old son Messiah had been pronounced deceased the day following the crash, who was on life support at Children’s Memorial Herman Hospital before passing away at around 4:00 p.m. on March 15th. 

The injuries the 2-year-old sustained, as described by his father, were simply too much for the child to overcome:

“His brain was swollen, jaw broken, and both of his legs broken.”

From what this grieving father says, he feels that he’ll never be able to achieve any sense of normalcy after losing so much:

“It could be 30 years from now…a 100 years from now – my life is never going to be the same. He can’t bring them back.”

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In other news stemming from fiery collisions transpiring in Texas, a Texas Highway Patrol trooper is being credited with saving three people from a wreck in February while he was off-duty. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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FORT WORTH, TX – With an explosive bang and a flash of flames, Trooper Jerry Schmidt’s evening went from low-key and relaxed to adrenalin-saturated and purposeful.

The 12-year veteran of the Texas Highway Patrol was off duty on a recent Saturday evening when he witnessed a fiery, three-vehicle collision on the entrance ramp of northbound I-820 in White Settlement, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth.

According to a passenger in one vehicle, a Tesla clipped the Ford SUV her husband was driving, sending it spinning into the driver’s side of a Honda Accord ahead of it and coming to a stop facing the opposite direction of travel.

The Tesla drove past the colliding vehicles and stopped. The Honda came to rest facing the guardrail, a couple of feet from the rear end of the SUV, which had burst into flames.

Schmidt, 54, and son Cody Schmidt, 30, live about four hours northwest in the Dickens County town of Spur and were in Fort Worth for their monthly drill weekend with the Texas Air National Guard.

Assigned to the 136th Civil Engineer Squadron at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Jerry is a Technical Sergeant and Cody is a Senior Airman. 

Veteran Texas Trooper saves three people from fiery wreck while off duty - where's the media?
Courtesy of John Quintinas

After spending the day on base, the two were relaxing in their hotel when they decided to walk to a nearby restaurant. The elder Schmidt forgot his mask and, after arguing unsuccessfully to stay inside the restaurant while ordering, went outside to the parking lot while his son ordered their meal to go.

No sooner had he stepped outside than the chaos began. Schmidt said:

“I heard the crash, looked up and saw it. A flash of flames came up from the left wheel well (of the SUV) and that caught my attention and then seconds after that I could see the red glow starting underneath the vehicle.”

Schmidt sprinted about 100 yards across the Jim Wright Freeway and up an embankment to the interstate to assess the situation and begin rescuing the vehicles’ crash-dazed occupants. He explained:

“I heard the squealing, the car hitting the guardrail, then the fire and I ran up there. I always carry a flashlight in my left pocket. I pulled it out and flashed the cars so they wouldn’t run me over.”

Veteran Texas Trooper saves three people from fiery wreck while off duty - where's the media?
Trooper Jerry Schmidt

Schmidt’s first order of business was getting the occupants out of the vehicle that was on fire. He said:

“I opened the driver’s door and he was in the process of trying to get out. He was still dazed. I told him to get out and asked if anybody else was in the vehicle because I couldn’t see across the passenger compartment because it was full of smoke. And he said his wife was in the front.

“There was a very loud pop right as I was pulling the driver out. I went around the front to get his wife out of there, and there was a really loud bang under the hood.

“I went around and her door was pinched shut. The top of the door was bowed out a little bit and I was able to get my fingers in there and pulled the door latch with my right hand and grabbed the top of the door with my left. It came open. I got her out and moved her across the guardrail off of the road.”

With the couple safe, Schmidt turned his focus to the car that had ended up facing the hotel parking lot.

Schmidt explained what happened next:

“The driver side was caved in. There was no way that door was going to open up, so I went to the passenger side and as I got there, a medic showed up. He identified himself as a medic.”

Both good Samaritans pulled out knives with glass breakers on one end and went to work. Schmidt said:

“He hit the front and I hit the top left and the side window broke. I pushed the glass out of the way with my hand and unlocked the door and went in on the passenger side.”

Inside the Honda was a 17-year-old with a nametag on his shirt. Schmidt used that information to break through to the unconscious driver. He said:

“I was trying to wake him up, I was talking to him and shaking his shoulder, trying to get him to wake up. I yelled at him: ‘Ian! Wake up! You’ve been in a car accident and you have to get out now!’

“I did a quick assessment: his legs weren’t at any odd angles; his body was in a straight-line position so it didn’t look like he’d been broken too bad. He was bleeding out of his head on the right side and his left arm was bleeding. My backside was outside the car and it was getting uncomfortably warm. I decided I was going to have to physically remove him.

“The medic said, ‘you can’t move him, he could have a spinal injury’ and I told him, ‘well the threat of death is more imminent than further injury’ because the smoke was getting into the compartment where I was at in car number two and it was getting really hot and I knew it wasn’t going to be long that we wouldn’t be able to be there, so . . .”

Schmidt grabbed the young man by his left shoulder and began to roll him up over the center console when he started to wake up. Schmidt said:

“He kind of woke up and I yelled at him and he came around and I told him he had to get out of the vehicle, it’s on fire, and he pulled his legs up and pulled himself across the console. Once he did that, I was able to grab his legs and swing him out the passenger door. Then I got on his right side and the medic got on his left side and we picked him up and carried him across the guardrail and laid him down.”

The driver was later taken by ambulance to Texas Health Fort Worth with multiple serious injuries.

Though dressed in civilian clothes, Trooper Schmidt asserted his authority over the scene and likely prevented further injury to the couple from the SUV. They had been removed from their burning vehicle but were determined to retrieve something from the back seat. He explained:

“My attention was on the driver that was injured and the man and woman were walking around. I directed them a couple of times to get farther away from the vehicle. They were going to go back to the vehicle to get something out of it. I told them no. At that time, the front of the vehicle was fully engulfed and he was planning to go up and get something out of the back seat and I told him to move away from the vehicle.”

Veteran Texas Trooper saves three people from fiery wreck while off duty - where's the media?
Courtesy of Cody Schmidt
View from hotel room

Meanwhile, Cody had gone back to the hotel with their dinner when he heard a loud bang and looked out the window to a nightmare scene about 135 yards away. It was about 7 p.m. and well past sunset. He could see a flashlight cutting through the darkness, directing passing cars away from the scene and knew it was the one his father keeps in his pocket. You never know when you’ll come upon an emergency, he has told his two sons. Cody Schmidt said:

“I thought he was just going to go back to the hotel room and wait. Well when I get to the hotel room, I looked over and I hear some loud booms and that was the car that was on fire.

“I was on the second story, looking straight out across from it, straight out at it. I had no idea that that was him over there. I just thought he had gone back to his room. But as I started seeing a flashlight move around, I was like, ‘he’s over there!’ Because my dad carries a flashlight everywhere he goes.

“So I guess he had run straight up the hill and he was the first one on scene.”

Later that night as the two discussed the fiery crash, it became obvious to Cody that his father is reluctant to take credit for good deeds.

The humility is genuine as Schmidt is the real thing. Duty, honor and integrity are interwoven with courage, a fair amount of physical strength and a respect for all lives. He’s the kind who is a lamb until a lion is necessary.

Schmidt downplays his decision to answer a call of duty but his actions on Feb. 27 have been noticed. His sergeant is putting in a request that he be given a Texas Department of Public Safety Lifesaving Award.

Back at the hotel, Cody struggled to get his dad to acknowledge his extraordinary actions. He explained:

“He said, ‘I was just doing my job.’ He came back, he had glass in his hands, where he had to bust up the window and blood on his pants and he said, ‘you know, I guess I was just in the right place at the right time.’ I said, ‘Well, to those people that you saved, you were probably their guardian angel at that moment.

“I said those people could have burned to death or the husband wouldn’t have known how to get his wife out of the car; she was halfway unconscious. You saved some people’s lives. And he said, nah, I’m no angel, I just did my job. I was just where I was supposed to be for that time.’

“I said, ‘well, I imagine when those people tell their kids about what happened, you were some savior that showed up, helped them out and then took off.’ Because he didn’t stay around. He just helped everybody, gave the police officers his name, said this is who I am. If you need my report, email me and he just came up to the room. He wasn’t looking for praise.”

Pretty standard hero behavior: Appear where you’re needed, rescue the helpless, slip back into the night. In this case, back to the hotel to wash the glass from his hands and blood from his jeans and eat a dinner of now-cold Chinese take-out.

Said Cody:

“I’ve always been proud of him. He’s just a pretty remarkable guy.”

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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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I'm awesome! What else would I say about myself.