Deputy’s dad killed in overnight motorcycle wreck
HITCHCOCK — The father of a sheriff’s deputy was killed and the deputy almost lost his life in a series of accidents on state Highway 6 early Saturday morning.
Off-duty deputy Chase Hunt and his father Danny Hunt, 54, were riding their motorcycles west on state Highway 6 at 12:50 a.m. when the deputy’s ball cap blew off, Hitchcock Police Chief Clay Kennelly said. The pair had been in Galveston for the Lone Star Rally, the chief said.
The father and son pulled their motorcycles onto the shoulder of the highway just west of the entrance to Harborwalk subdivision in the 4900 block of Highway 6. The father waited as the deputy went back to retrieve the cap.
A Ford SUV traveling on the shoulder of the road slammed into the father and his motorcycle, the chief said.
Based on reports from witnesses and the deputy, 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 and put his motorcycle in 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 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 intoxication 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.
Chase Hunt, who lives in Hitchcock, is a school liaison deputy in the Texas City school district, sheriff’s office spokesman Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo said.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the deputy and his family,” Tuttoilmondo said. “We will do all we can to support them during this time.”