Drunken SeawallMay 11, 2012 | in My Kind of Driving
With warmer weather approaching and summer time nearing, Galveston,TX will experience an influx of patorns heading down to the seawall for fun, sun and surf. But tourist and natives must be on the look out for drunk drivers.
A Galveston man faces felony drunk driving charges after authorities say the car he was driving fatally struck two men and their dog Wednesday evening as they were walking on the Seawall.
Matthew Shelton, 27, of Galveston, has been charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter, said Lt. Michael Gray of the Galveston Police Department. Shelton and a passenger in the car were listed in stable condition at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
A judge set Shelton’s bond at $100,000. When he’s released from the hospital, he will be taken to the Galveston County Jail, investigators said. Galveston police identified one of the victims as Steven Hunt, 42, of Galveston. The other man’s name has been withheld pending notification of his family.
For many Island residents, a walk or jog on the famed Seawall is a daily routine after a hard day’s work. The accident, however, has left some residents concerned about their safety.
“My kids are always out on their bicycles and I’m not always around,” said Vita Zarco, a mother of five who lives few blocks off the Seawall on 13th Street where the fatal crash occurred. “I don’t want them to ride their bicycles any more. It’s not safe any more.”
Police said Shelton was westbound on Seawall Boulevard at 13th Street when he lost control of the car and struck the two pedestrians, who were taking their brown, mixed-breed dog for an evening walk about 6:15 p.m.
Witnesses said the car barely missed hitting several other people also out for strolls just before sunset.
“It’s very tragic and it’s going to affect everyone — the victims and their families, the passenger and his family and the suspect and his family,”
said Gray of GPD. “It should be a lesson to everyone to watch out for pedestrians and don’t drink and drive.”
Debbie Arnold, a nurse and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, said the fatality was traumatic for people out on the Seawall when it happened. “It was very tragic and very emotional,” said Arnold. “A lot of people who were standing around were very traumatized. “That experience can sometimes carry people on (emotional) journeys that are difficult, and I would like to perhaps see some debriefing and trauma resolutions done for all those witnesses. Because it’s a tough journey to be able to navigate that.”
The fatal crash was not an isolated event. In October 2011, Texas City resident Felix Garza hit two people along the Seawall, killing Amanda Medlock, 34, and seriously injuring Vincent Jeffus, 36.
Garza was charged with DWI for the third time, as well as manslaughter.
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