Driver charged in highway death of Spring girl
Jessica Hernandez sat next to her husband in a Houston courtroom Tuesday morning, struggling to understand why it had to happen.
A little more than five months ago, the Spring woman's 14-year-old daughter was fatally run down by a car while she walked alongside a northwest Harris County road.
Now, for the first time, Hernandez, 30, looked at the face of the man who allegedly killed her daughter.
"Imagine how one feels when you see the person who took away the life of the love of your life," said Hernandez. "It was horrible."
Tuesday marked the first court appearance made by Alexander Scott Wray, 26, a bodybuilder charged with manslaughter in the death of Ana Deltrafico Sanchez-Hernandez, a soon-to-be eighth-grader, who died May 28.
Tested for drug
According to court documents, Wray, who was charged this month, told investigators he became distracted before the crash because he was looking at his cellphone. However, authorities also later found that Wray tested positive for gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, at the time of the crash. The drug, known to be used by bodybuilders, can cause drowsiness, confusion and memory impairment, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration's website.
But for Hernandez, Wray's reckless actions all boiled down to one explanation.
"He didn't have the heart to be careful," she said. "He could have prevented it, but he didn't."
Walking with friend
Ana was playing soccer with her younger brother, Benjamin, 13, and his friends at Strack Intermediate school on the Memorial Day afternoon when she died. Benjamin later went home with a friend, and Ana walked over to a sandwich shop to get something to eat, Hernandez said.
On the way, she ran into a friend who was riding his bicycle, and the two went toward the sandwich shop. Ana walked in the grassy area in the 5000 block of Louetta while her friend rode a bicycle on the edge of the pavement, court records stated.
Witness saw impact
Meanwhile, around 2:55 p.m., a black Dodge Charger, later determined to be driven by Wray, was traveling east on Louetta. The car drifted into adjacent lanes, nearly hitting other vehicles, a witness later told sheriff's deputies. Fearing the driver of the car was drunk, the witness told deputies he called 911.
The witness saw the Charger veer off the road, crashing into Ana and her friend, according to court records. The crash's impact pushed the cyclist toward the center of the street and caused Ana to be thrown onto the hood of the Charger.
Ana eventually rolled off the vehicle onto the ground in a nearby business driveway. She died at the scene.
Wray, who stopped after the wreck, told authorities he was on his way to a nearby 24-Hour Fitness center when the crash occurred.
A deputy at the scene said that Wray's eyes appeared droopy, he was profusely sweating and appeared confused with his head dropping and mouth slightly open.
Defense: It was accident
Authorities now believe Wray, who submitted a voluntary blood sample, took GHB prior to the crash. Some believe GHB, which also has gained notoriety as a "date-rape" drug, can stimulate muscle growth, according to the DEA. It was banned by the Food and Drug Administration in 1990.
Wray was charged Oct. 16 and released from Harris County Jail on a $10,000 bail. Wray's attorney, Neal Davis, said his client passed all field sobriety tests given to him after the crash.
"It's a tragic accident," Davis said. "But we don't believe it rises to the level of a crime."
Hernandez said she hopes Wray receives the maximum punishment for the crime.
In the meantime Ana's family, who donated the teen's organs, has gotten some measure of solace by knowing her death was able to help others.
"I feel good, because in some way, her little heart is functioning in another child, another person," Hernandez said. "That could help other children."