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Waller County DA says case of teen accused of running over cyclists was not handled appropriately

"This case was not handled appropriately by the investigating agency. PERIOD," Waller County District Attorney Elton R. Mathis said.

WALLER COUNTY, Texas — Waller County District Attorney Elton R. Mathis took to social media to criticize what happened after six cyclists were struck by a teenager driving a truck last month.

RELATED: Teen driver allegedly injures 6 cyclists with his truck and isn't charged, community wonders why

In a Facebook post on Monday, Mathis said the case "was not handled appropriately by the investigating agency," which was the Waller Police Department.

The teen has yet to be arrested or charged in connection with the incident.

"Despite being encouraged by the Texas Department of Public Safety to treat the scene as a crime scene and to contact the D.A.'s Office for advice on how to proceed, the investigating agency chose not to do so. The actions of the Texas Department of Public Safety on scene were professional and we are thankful they were there to assist," Mathis said in the Facebook post. "We are also working with the Waller County Sheriff’s Office to gather the evidence they are able to provide as they arrived on scene to back up Waller P.D. Sheriff Guidry has been most helpful in this regard."

What happened

On Saturday, Sept. 25, six cyclists were struck by the teen's truck. Three of them were seriously injured.

According to witnesses, the teen was taunting the cyclists by "rolling coal' (blowing exhaust smoke as he passed them) when he struck cyclists who were in front of him.

RELATED: Lawyers for six cyclists hit in Waller County speak out

According to authorities, the teen stayed at the scene and spoke to police, but was not detained or charged by Waller PD.

Teen's attorney speaks out

The teen’s attorney Rick Detoto released the following statement:

“My client is a young man in high school with college aspirations. He is a new and inexperienced driver. Immediately after the accident police did an investigation at the scene. This included speaking with eyewitnesses to the accident. After their investigation, they decided not to charge my client and did not issue him a traffic ticket.

“My client stopped immediately, called 911, attempted to render aid and cooperated with police. The family prays for a quick recovery for the injured riders.”

'Some connections'

Mathis said there are some connections between the teen driver and Waller city officials. That connection has not been revealed, but Mathis said, so far, there is no evidence that a city official told the officers at the scene how to handle the situation.

Here's what Mathis posted to Facebook on Monday:

It has been 16 days now since six innocent bicyclists were run over by a motorist in Waller County. This office tried...

Posted by District Attorney of Waller County on Monday, October 11, 2021


Special prosecutor

Last week, attorneys for the cyclists said a special prosecutor has been assigned to the case by Mathis.

RELATED: Special prosecutor assigned to case of 6 cyclists who were allegedly hit by teen driver, lawyers say

The special prosecutor said he's investigating the case as a possible 2nd-degree felony.

RELATED: Waller County bicyclists crash: Special prosecutor considering serious charges

What's next

Mathis said the case is far from over and will be handled appropriately.

"This will not be a lynching and likewise it will not be a case of small county politics making problems just go away," Mathis said.

Mathis said attorneys involved in the case are being cooperative.

He also asked everyone to share the roadways and abide by laws.

"This is not the time for finger-pointing at groups or making assumptions about people," Mathis said. "The world is already filled with too much hate and we can do our part as a community (that includes its cyclists and farmers alike) to ensure that justice is done in the courtroom and not on the side of the road. The world is watching all of us. Let’s be the example that it needs to see."

Facebook post

In case the embedded Facebook post is not loading above, here's the full post from Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis:

It has been 16 days now since six innocent bicyclists were run over by a motorist in Waller County. This office tried to refrain from passing any judgment until we could gather information about what happened at the scene. As previously stated, we did not get professionally or formally notified of the occurrence at the time of the event but found out via social media. Now, we are able to share a small part of our opinions as the case investigation progresses and questions continue to arise as to how the D.A.’s office will proceed.

1) This case was not handled appropriately by the investigating agency. PERIOD. Despite being encouraged by the Texas Department of Public Safety to treat the scene as a crime scene and to contact the D.A.‘s Office for advice on how to proceed, the investigating agency chose not to do so. The actions of the Texas Department of Public Safety on scene were professional and we are thankful they were there to assist. We are also working with the Waller County Sheriff’s Office to gather the evidence they are able to provide as they arrived on the scene to back up Waller P.D.   Sheriff Guidry has been most helpful in this regard.

2) There has been some online and community speculation that the incident was handled in the manner it was because of connections between the motorist and Waller city officials. At this point, we can confirm there are some connections but have yet to see evidence of a city official directing the officer on the scene as to how to handle this particular situation. We will continue to look for any such criminal interference as the investigation proceeds.

3) Attorneys for the victims have been more than helpful in assisting this office with seeking justice. Our lines of communication are open and the victims' questions are being answered as they arise even though we know they would prefer a faster decision-making process.

4). All sides of this matter (the juvenile, the adult passenger, their families, the victims and their friends/families) can be assured that this case is not being swept away as the days pass, and attorneys for both boys are being cooperative at this time. This will not be a lynching and likewise, it will not be a case of small county politics making problems just go away.

5) Finally, we ask that all of our community members and bicyclists that come here continue to be respectful of one another, share the roads and abide by the laws. This is not the time for finger-pointing at groups or making assumptions about people based on their choices in sports or residency. The world is already filled with too much hate and we can do our part as a community (that includes its cyclists and farmers alike) to ensure that justice is done in the courtroom and not on the side of the road. The world is watching all of us. Let’s be the example that it needs to see.

Thanks to all of you for your continued patience.

Waller County District Attorney Elton R. Mathis