Alcohol and driving don’t mix. We have heard it, ad-nauseum, in public service announcements, graphic images from accident scenes, warnings from family members of those deceased and countless other sources yet it still happens with alarming regularity. The Houston area has the worst statistics for drunk driving fatalities of anyplace in the United States. For what is likely a myriad of reasons, people here don’t seem too concerned about getting tanked and then getting behind the wheel of a car most often with deadly consequences.
A Caney Creek High School baseball player has been arrested on a charge of intoxication manslaughter, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said Friday in a news release. Daniel Freund, 18, was arrested Friday morning at his Montgomery County home by Department of Public Safety troopers, according to the release. Freund remained in the Montgomery County Jail on $100,000 bond Friday afternoon, said Andrew James, an assistant district attorney who is co-prosecuting the case with Warren Diepraam.
The arrest stemmed from a crash at about 2 a.m. March 14 on FM 1485 near Caney Creek High School, which resulted in the death of fellow Caney Creek student, and passenger in the car, Halie McDonald. Freund was injured in the accident and was treated at Ben Taub General Hospital, James said. Based upon evidence gathered in a DPS investigation of the accident, prosecutors believe that speed and alcohol were factors, James said. Freund’s vehicle was southbound on FM 1485 when it left the road and struck a utility pole, according to the Montgomery County Police Reporter.
It took rescuers almost an hour to extricate the two teens from the wreckage, the Police Reporter said. 16-year old Halie McDonald was transported to Hermann Hospital in Houston in critical condition with a severe head injury, internal injuries and broken bones. She was pronounced dead a short time later. Freund was transported to Ben Taub Hospital in Houston and was in critical condition. The vehicle snapped off not one but two utility poles which were paired next to each other. In addition the top of the pole snapped leaving 35,000 volts hanging overhead. Fire crews called for additional help from River Plantation Fire Department, using three sets of tools it was a joint effort between firefighters, MCHD medics, deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and wrecker drivers to free the two teens from the twisted metal mass. After almost an hour, with the high voltage lines hanging just over their heads they were able to free the two and start medical care.
This tragedy consumes two families. One lost a daughter, granddaughter, niece the other will likely lose a son, grandson and nephew to the Texas prison system. All for a stupid mistake. Investigators say Freund was speeding southbound on 1485. He missed a curve, ran off the road and slid into a pole. “A sample of his blood was taken to the Department of Public Safety for evidentary purposes,” prosecutor Andrew James said. DPS records just released show Freund was drunk at the time of the crash. His blood alcohol level was at .11 percent. And he tested positive for two drugs, including marijuana.
“If it wasn’t for God, I wouldn’t get through this, I wouldn’t get through it at all,” said McDonald’s grandmother, Donna Kisner. While McDonald’s grandparents call the news bittersweet, they say it’s time someone pays the price for the loss of their precious granddaughter. “His parents they must be going through a hard time. They’ve got to be, and I really feel for them,” Kisner said. “We’re not gonna have her. We’re never gonna have her until we pass over and go see her.” Freund’s father declined to comment in a story carried on KTRK-TV. Freund is charged with intoxication manslaughter. His bond is set at $100,000.