HITCHCOCK — The father of a Galveston County Sheriff’s Office deputy was killed and the deputy almost lost his life in a series of early Saturday morning accidents on state Highway 6.
Off duty deputy Chase Hunt and his father Danny Hunt, 54, were riding their motorcycles westbound on Highway 6 at about 12:50 a.m. when the deputy ‘s ball cap blew off his head, Hitchcock Police Chief Clay Kennelly said. The pair had been in Galveston for the Lone Star Rally motorcycle event, the chief said.
The father and son pulled off onto the shoulder of the highway just west of the entrance to Harborwalk subdivision in the 4900 block of Highway 7. The father waited as the deputy went back to retrieve the hat.
During that time, a Ford SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed on the shoulder of the road before slamming into the father and his motorcycle, the chief said.
Based on eyewitness reports and from what the deputy told investigators, the Ford was never in the driving lane but was speeding down the shoulder, Kennelly said.
The Ford continued for another half mile before damage to the vehicle forced it to stop. Police suspect that the driver was attempting to flee the scene, Kennelly said.
The deputy called 911 to report the accident, rode his motorcycle and placed it in a position to shield his father’s body when a second SUV swerved off the road onto the shoulder striking the deputy’s motorcycle and possibly striking his father’s body, the chief said.
“The deputy had to jump into the ditch to avoid being hit,” Kennelly said. “He told our officers that he saw his father’s body run over by the second vehicle.”
The impact of that second collision sent the deputy’s motorcycle into the traffic lanes where a La Marque woman’s car struck the flying motorcycle.
Kennelly said the driver of the Ford involved in the first accident, Niel Smith, 75, of Galveston is suspected of drunken driving. Smith was charged with intoxicated manslaughter and was in the Galveston County jail on $50,000 bond.
The driver of the second vehicle that struck the deputy’s motorcycle, Jeramie Wayne Herrera, 23, of Santa Fe was charged with marijuana possession and was being held in the Hitchcock city jail on $5,000 bond.
Kennelly said Smith and Herrera were taken to the sheriff’s office for mandatory blood draws. Kennelly said investigators confirmed that the deputy and his father had not been drinking.
Two passengers in the Honda SUV with Herrera were not charged. The La Marque woman driving the car involved in the third collision wasn’t hurt, Kennelly said.
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