HOUSTON – The driver blamed for a wrong way crash that killed a beloved high school track and football coach has been charged with intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.
Gerardo Gonzalez Luna, 51, was three times over the legal limit, according to prosecutors. They say police found open containers of beer in his vehicle after the crash early Sunday.
Luna was going the wrong way on Beltway 8 when he crashed his F-150 truck into a Mercedes carrying Adrian and Veronnia Byrd home from a wedding.
Byrd, a father of two young children, was killed and his wife was critically injured. She remains in a coma.
"This was a very, very bad crash," said Precinct 5 Asst.Chief Terry Allbritton.
"Mr. Luna was driving the wrong way on the interstate and, according to at least one witness, didn’t have headlights on," said Harris County Asst. District Attorney Sean Teare.
Luna was seriously injured and is still in the hospital. His blood alcohol content was .284, according to Teare. Luna has a prior DWI from 2009 when he served a 45-day sentence and paid a fine. He was also charged with assaulting a family member in 2014.
Photos: Wrong-way driver causes deadly crash
The Byrds were high school sweethearts. Adrian starred in track and football at Willowridge High School until his 2001 graduation. He then played fullback for and became captain of the University of New Mexico’s football team.
Though he never played a down in the NFL as he dreamed, teammates and coaches showered Facebook with tales of the larger impact Adrian had on teens around Houston.
For the last seven years while teaching at Nimitz and Heights High Schools, “Coach Byrd” worked to get many students scholarships.
He even helped fill out FAFSA forms for a group of track athletes whom he once escorted to prom just to show he cared.
“(He was) just a nice, well-rounded child,” said Audrey Byrd. “(He was) dependable (and) well-loved. I just always said my boy. That’s my boy.”