A Texas man who was seen in a Facebook Live video saying he drives better when he drinks while sipping a beer faces charges after he crashed, killing three of his passengers and seriously injuring another person.
The driver, Camilo Morejon, 47, was charged with three counts of intoxicated manslaughter for Sunday’s fatal crash in Houston, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said.
Authorities said Morejon was travelling “at a high rate of speed” when he crashed his Honda Accord into a black pickup truck that was making a left turn into a business.
The force of the collision caused the driver of the truck, who police said was not wearing a seatbelt, to be ejected from the vehicle.
The truck’s driver, Pedro Hernandez-Martinez, 45, is hospitalized in very serious condition, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Three people were in Morejon’s car and they were all pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. They have been identified as Leosveyks Gonzalez, 35; Ricardo Rodriguez Tamayo, 40; and Massel Rodriguez Tamayo, 32.
Morejon was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. The sheriff’s office said that they believe Morejon was intoxicated at the time of the crash and “open alcoholic beverage containers” were found inside his vehicle.
Prosecutors told NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston that moments before the crash, Morejon was seen in a Facebook Live video drinking from a beer bottle. The video was filmed by Gonzalez, Morejon’s girlfriend, and posted onto his page.
In it, a bottle of beer is passed back and forth as the group in the car talks. At one point, Morejon says in Spanish that he drives better when he drinks, according to KPRC. The crash happened less than 10 minutes after the video was posted.
“It’s very rare that we see actions of the defendant that close in time to a horrific crash like that but it’s what happens, it’s what goes on moments before lives are lost,” Harris County prosecutor Sean Teare told KPRC.
Prosecutors said the charges against Morejon could be upgraded if the driver of the truck does not survive. Morejon is represented by public defenders and attempts to reach them were not immediately successful.-NBCnews