EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY – A 13-year-old New Caney boy died Saturday afternoon, just hours after a suspected drunk driver struck him and kept going. As the victim’s friend flagged down another vehicle for help, a wrecker driver who saw what happened followed the hit and run driver to his residence and waited for police to arrive.
Kendrick Owens, a seventh-grader at Keefer Crossing Middle School, was flown by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston’s Texas Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
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Javier Isias Correa, 28, of 17293 Oak Grove Lane in New Caney was charged with accident involving injury/death; manslaughter; and a hold was placed on him by the US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Wrecker driver Aubrey LaBuff said he heard Houston Police dispatch a description of a vehicle with a possible drunk driver that was northbound on Hwy 59, and then heard Montgomery County dispatch a description of the same vehicle within minutes. LaBuff was on FM 1485 approaching Hwy 59 when he said he saw a Dodge pickup matching the description drive under the freeway, nearly driving up onto the curb.
LaBuff made a u-turn and managed to catch up with the vehicle on FM 1485 just before it reached Kidd Cemetery, which is when he says he saw the pickup swerve and strike Kendrick Owens as he walked on the shoulder with his friend.
The Dodge pickup did not stop, but LeBuff was determined he was not getting away.
“As we passed I saw the other little boy holding his skateboard, jumping up and down trying to flag down some help and I looked in my mirror to make sure somebody was stopping,” LaBuff said.
A car stopped and LaBuff stayed behind the truck, which he says almost hit another vehicle and came dangerously close to four more children walking in the pickup driver’s neighborhood.
When Javier Correa reached his house and got out of his pickup to go inside, LaBuff says he told Correa he struck a child and Correa denied it. However, LaBuff says Correa emerged from the house a short time later and when LaBuff told him the police and an ambulance were en route, Correa said he did not need an ambulance and would surrender to police.
Trooper Justin Lopez with the Texas Department of Public Safety went to Correa’s house, took him into custody, and returned him to the scene.
Lopez said Correa smelled of alcohol and admitted he had been drinking Saturday morning.
Police records show Correa was convicted of Driving While Intoxicated in Harris County in November, 2005 and served 10 days in jail. In 2000, Correa pleaded guilty to “assault causes bodily injury” in Harris County.
Jared Sheridan, the 13-year-old who was walking with Kendrick Owens, said they saw a truck coming toward them at a high rate of speed and both tried to “run for the ditch.” Sheridan was walking on the side further from the road and was able to avoid being struck, but saw the truck hit his friend. By the time he blinked, Sheridan said, (Owens) was already in the grass.
LaBuff praised Sheridan’s quick response to help Owens, saying by the time he looked in his rear view mirror, Sheridan was waving the skateboard he had been carrying, using it to flag down a vehicle to help his friend.
Sheridan’s father, Roger, said the two boys were friends since elementary school and his son was “very traumatized.”
Video will be posted later…