Robert Earl Smith Jr.has has been arrested on charges of intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter for the December 27, 2020, wrong-way driver crash on I-45 and Woodlands Parkway. DPS Troopers took him into custody Wednesday evening at his apartment at 200 Dominion Park in Houston. He was brought to the jail in a full cast after having a femur broken in the crash. The young girl injured continues to recover in the hospital.
ORIGINAL STORY 12/27/20
About 12:45 am Sunday dispatchers started getting calls on a wrong-way driver on I-45 going southbound in the northbound lane in a 2013 Ford Taurus. Seconds later that vehicle hit a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country van head-on at the Research/Lake Woodlands exit. South Montgomery County Firefighters worked close to 45 minutes to free the male driver identified as Gabriel Lopez, 48, of Conroe, a female front seat passenger Maria Veloz, 45, of Conroe, and a 12-year-old female child from the van. Lopez was taken to Hermann Woodlands in critical condition where he later died. The child who was in the back seat of the van was also taken to Memorial Hermann in the Woodlands but later Life Flighted to the Medical Center in Houston. Veloz was in stable condition. The wrong-way driver identified as Robert Earl Smith, 30 of The Woodlands was also in stable condition. Smith now faces multiple charges. The family of the victims had been following behind and witnessed the entire incident. At 4:30 am the northbound lanes of I-45 are about to reopen. The Montgomery County District Attorneys Office Vehicular Crimes Unit is assisting in the investigation. It has not yet been determined if the wrong-way driver was intoxicated. DPS is still trying to determine where the maroon Fors Taurus entered the freeway the wrong way.