An off-duty Texas officer was charged with driving while intoxicated and allegedly traveling at 100 mph, causing a deadly chain-reaction crash on I-35 in Jarrell, according to KXAN.
At approximately 2:15 a.m. Tuesday, June 21, it was reported that 26-year-old Alan Dieguez, who is a three-year veteran with the El Paso Police Department, was traveling at high speeds in his 2015 Hyundai on I-35, weaving in and out of traffic, when he suddenly rear-ended a tractor-trailer.
The severity of the impact caused the officer’s engine to “separate from the vehicle and scatter debris across three lanes of traffic,” according to an affidavit. Afterwards, the Hyundai “traveled off the highway into a grassy ditch on the east side of the roadway.”
When a semi-truck driver, Dane Rutter, 56, of Stockdale, witnessed the I-35 crash, he pulled over and reportedly got out to help the off-duty officer and the other passengers in the vehicle.
However, as Rutter was headed in the Hyundai’s direction, he was struck by an oncoming tractor-trailer driven by Victor Lujan, who swerved to avoid hitting the engine that was left on the road.
Unfortunately, Rutter was pronounced dead at the crash scene.
After Lujan reportedly struck the semi-truck driver, the tractor-trailer skidded off the road and went up in flames after rolling on its side. The driver was transported to a local hospital after sustaining “incapacitating injuries” in the I-35 crash.
Just shortly after, it was reported that a third tractor-trailer driven by James Camp struck the Hyundai’s engine after he was unable to swerve. The tractor-trailer also burst into flames, but Camp was “able to exit safely.”
When police officials arrived at the scene, Camp informed them that before the I-35 crash, he saw “Dieguez pass him at a high rate of speed and was observed driving recklessly by cutting in between other vehicles.”
Authorities closed the northbound lanes of I-35 in Jarrell for several hours while they cleared the accident, and the highway reportedly reopened around 11:15 a.m.
Dieguez was later taken to Seton Williamson Hospital for minor injuries, but shortly upon arrival “he fled on foot after refusing treatment.” However, the driver of the Hyundai was later arrested by Round Rock Police.
It was also uncovered that the driver’s brother Roman, who sustained minor injuries during the I-35 crash, and another individual were in the vehicle during the time of the accident, but it was not immediately clear if the passengers will face criminal charges as well.
However, while in police custody, Dieguez stated that before he began driving from Austin to San Antonio, he consumed “one or two rum and cokes.”
Although the off-duty officer allegedly refused to “perform a field sobriety test,” he did provide the hospital with a sample of his blood. His test results were not released to the public, but according to TDT News, the off-duty officer was arrested and charged with DWI.
He was also charged with unlawful possession or carrying a weapon after investigators discovered a 9mm handgun in his vehicle.
The off-duty officer Alan Dieguez was taken to the county jail following the I-35 crash, but was released shortly after posting bail, which was set at $7,500.
After learning an off-duty officer was arrested for reportedly causing a deadly chain-reaction crash on I-35 in Jarrell, social media users were outraged. One user stated that “when they [police] do stuff like this, it is okay to call them pigs.”
El Paso Police Department placed Dieguez on administrative leave following the deadly crash.
On Wednesday, the Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Robbie Barrera stated that the I-35 car crash is currently under investigation.
[Image via Williamson County Jail]