Family fights for change
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It was a heartbreaking scene less than one month ago. Two trucks were left in pieces after colliding head-on. The only survivor was the man who police say caused the crash. We've since learned the suspect had been convicted four times for drunk driving.
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On Thursday, that suspect appeared in court, and the victim's family was there to face him.
"I thought there was a three-strike rule," said Eric Wilcox, whose brother was killed in the accident. "I thought there would have been a lot more time given to somebody with at least three DWIs."
In the most difficult way, Wilcox learned what he thought is far from reality.
"The prison system and the parole board are releasing people that don't need to be released," he said.
Last month, his beloved younger brother, Troy Augst, died in a head-on collision.
"Mr. Price changed lanes and my brother's truck was right there," said Wilcox.
On Thursday, a judge refused bond for the man accused of causing the horrific February crash, Rodney Craig Price. Still with grief, Wilcox came to court to witness the hearing.
"Some people wish for death penalty," he told us. "I just wish for him to stay where he's at."
Prosecutors believe Price's blood alcohol level was near the legal limit when he plowed into Augst's truck. Even more disturbing for the Augst family is that the 47-year-old man was convicted of DWI in the past 4 different times.
"I was very disappointed and heartbroken," said Wilcox.
He's heartbroken to lose his brother and disappointed in a broken system.
"An alcoholic is still going to drive their vehicle. There's not enough support outside jail," he said.
Andrea Schmauss from Mother's Against Drunk Driving agrees more supervision and treatment for habitual DWI offenders is needed. Until that happens, MADD warns cases like Price's will happen again
"It's happening in more frequently than people would like to think, especially in Harris County, when you have a lot of repeat offenders," she said.
From prosecutors to MADD, everyone agrees this is a multi-faceted problem that needs several different solutions. There are calls for longer punishment, fewer paroles for people who are convicted of DWI and for first time DWI offenders, the DA would like to see more intervention.
local, laura whitley
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