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I 45 Freeway Pedestrian Ends Up Dead Man in Mazda Passenger Seat

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by copythis

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In The News

It’s the reason drivers should never get out of a broken-down car on the freeway: A Houston driver on Interstate 45 not only didn’t bother stopping after hitting a pedestrian—a man who was launched through the driver’s windshield—he kept driving until cops saw damage to his Mazda. The dead pedestrian was sitting in the passenger seat.

45-year-old James John Ona is charged with a felony for the collision at the 12200 block of the southbound Gulf Freeway near Fuqua after midnight. Police won’t say who the pedestrian is—only that he’s 32 years old and had been driving a Ford Explorer on the freeway before the vehicle broke down – where he pulled to the shoulder and then tried to cross the freeway.

The oncoming driver was in a black Mazda, in a collision that forced the pedestrian through the windshield and into the front passenger seat inside the car. But that wasn’t enough to stop Onak who kept driving – exiting the freeway and taking surface streets before an officer pulled him over after noting the car’s damage. Of all the bizarre defenses, Onak told cops he’d hit “something” on the freeway and supposedly had no clue there was a dead man in the passenger seat next to him.

Cops suspect Ornak was drunk while driving and – if in fact the forced blood draw, sobriety, test proves positive – a DUI could provide an odd, legal loophole for the driver with a dead man in his passenger seat: There’s suggestion a lawyer could argue the driver may stand a better chance defending himself against a charge of “intoxication manslaughter” charges, since Texas prosecutors would have to prove the freeway accident with the pedestrian was caused by the driver being intoxicated. A person on foot, attempting to cross a freeway in the middle of the night, is not a circumstance a driver can reasonably anticipate crossing while driving.


Houston, TX
United States
29° 45' 36.6948" N, 95° 22' 9.804" W
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