Former Police Officer Indicted on Three Counts of Manslaughter

KFDX News Channel Three recently reported on a deadly wreck that involved an officer with the Wichita Falls Police Department. Teddy Whitefield, the former police officer, has been indicted on three counts of manslaughter. The crash, which happened on Jacksboro Highway in June of 2011, took the lives of two teenagers and an unborn baby.

The victims, 18-year-old Yeni Lopez and 13-year-old Gloria Montoya, were in a Pontiac Grand Am at the intersection of Holiday Road and Jacksboro Highway at the time of the crash. Whitefield’s patrol car struck the Grand Am. First responders found the car on its side. Tragically, Lopez was eight months pregnant. Whitefield was on duty in his patrol car at the time of the wreck. The toxicology results have been released, and there were four different medications detected in his body. He had been taking an allergy medication, diet pills and two different medications for depression including Xanax. KFDX News reports that Whitefield’s attorney has recently hired a car-crash re-constructionist for his defense case. John Gillespie, First Assistant District Attorney for Wichita County, anticipates that the trial will begin in the spring of 2014.

An impaired driver is a danger to everybody on the road. Consuming alcoholic beverages isn’t the only way to become an impaired driver. Even legally prescribed medications and many over-the-counter drugs can lead to driver impairment. When medications are involved, it’s important to read drug labels and speak with a doctor before getting behind the wheel. It may be necessary to line up alternative means of transportation for a period of time. Driving under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous as driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stresses the importance of talking with one’s doctor and pharmacist before getting behind the wheel. They also report on the potential dangers of driving while taking multiple types of medications.

Driving under the influence of certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs puts everybody on the road at risk. Unlike drunk driving, it’s not always easy to determine if a negligent driver was under the influence of drugs at the time of a crash. An experienced personal injury attorney can keep up with official investigative developments and find out of drugs were a factor in a wreck. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving an impaired driver, contact the experienced team at the Altman Legal Group at 940-761-4000 for a free consultation.