GRIMES COUNTY, Texas — A Grimes County Sheriff's Office deputy and Navasota firefighter were injured at the scene of a fatal crash when an allegedly intoxicated driver slammed into the back of the deputy's patrol vehicle at a high rate of speed.
Emergency personnel had responded to State Highway 6, just south of Navasota, Texas, for a one-vehicle fatal crash early Sunday morning.
While the Texas Department of Public Safety was investigating the fatal crash, Grimes County Sheriff's Office deputy Swank Backhus was stationed behind the crash to warn and slow down motorists. Navasota firefighter David Kearny was posted nearby assisting with traffic control.
"A vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed failed to yield to the emergency lights and struck the back of the patrol vehicle, ejecting Deputy Backhus, and pushing his patrol vehicle forward striking Firefighter Kearney," read a statement from the Grimes County Sheriff's Office.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Russell Gallo narrowly avoided being struck as well, according to the release.
Backhus and Kearny were treated at the scene, transported to an area hospital, and later released with non-life threatening injuries.
The driver that struck the back of Backhus' patrol vehicle was identified as 20-year-old Avery Jimenez of Katy, Texas. Jimenez sustained a broken arm, was treated and released from the hospital, and booked into the Grimes County Jail on two counts of intoxication assault and possession of marijuana.
"This is a classic example of the dangers that law enforcement, first responders, wrecker drivers and of course highway construction workers endure while performing their missions on the public highways," stated Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell. "I see this as a perfect example that God and his Guardian Angels were definitely on their posts that night protecting our first responders and as bad as situation was there is no doubt it could have had more tragic results."
"This was preventable as is usually the case but, when impaired and irresponsible drivers take to the road and make bad decisions, innocent people are destined to placed in harms way," he said.
31-year-old Porscha Crawford of Navasota was killed in the initial crash. Sowell says she was a fellow classmate of Backhus while they attended Navasota High School.
"Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the family and friends of Porscha Crawford as they mourn her tragic passing," he said. "We are grateful and thankful that Deputy Swank Backhus and Navasota Firefighter David Kearney will heal and recover to return to their duties of public service."