Drunk Driver Hits Pedestrian, Keeps Driving With Man's Body Through Windshield
Austin, TX – An Austin man is in jail facing manslaughter charges after he hit a person with his car while driving drunk, and then continued down the roadway with the man’s mangled body in his passenger seat.
The incident occurred at about 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 when a Ford Focus driven by an intoxicated 24-year-old Paul Garcia struck a pedestrian at the intersection of Slaughter Lane and Menchaca Road, KXAN reported.
Witnesses told police that Garcia was driving without headlights when he slammed into 55-year-old Lee Cagle, who was pushing a shopping cart across the street when he was hit.
Cagle’s body went through the Ford’s windshield and landed, mangled, in the passenger seat, KVUE reported.
“The impact with the vehicle pushed the cart into a cluster of mailboxes with enough force to bend a two-inch diameter, galvanized steel post that supported mailboxes,” according to a police report.
But Garcia didn’t stop his car after the crash. Instead, he continued driving to the South Austin Beer Garden.
Surveillance video from security cameras outside the bar showed Garcia climbing out of drainage ditch with bare feet and calmly walking into the bar, KXAN reported.
The bar’s co-owner, David Pearce, said that it was obvious something was wrong with Garcia when he entered the bar.
“We didn’t know what kind of trouble he was in, we just knew it was bad,” Pearce told KXAN. “He was in tears. He was distraught. In a panicked state. You could see he had tears in his eyes and it looked like he was running from something.”
Garcia wasn’t served any alcohol by the South Austin Beer Garden, KVUE reported.
Police arrived a few minutes later and took Garcia into custody.
Cagle, whose body was still in the front seat of Garcia’s car, died as a result of his injuries.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that the Cagle’s body had extreme, traumatic injuries and that some body parts had become detached.
The police report said that when Garcia was arrested, he had Cagle’s blood and body tissue all over him.
There was debris that included car and body parts strewn down the road for a half mile from where Cagle was hit, KXAN reported.
Investigators said there were no brake skid marks on the road leading up to the point of impact.
It was Garcia's second arrest for drunk driving, according to KXAN.
The driver was charged with intoxication manslaughter, accident involving injury, and a traffic offense, KVUE reported.
Garcia was held in jail on a $110,000 bond, KVUE reported.