At 9:20 pm Sunday, October 16, 2022, a frantic call came across the radios in Montgomery County as Wood Branch Officer Blackketter reported on-viewing a crash at I-69 and the Grand Parkway. He reported multiple critically injured persons. Porter Fire responded to the scene along with MCHD. The first units on the scene immediately called for additional rescue equipment and four additional ambulances. Trooper Polansky who arrived on the scene found two unconscious children in the back seat. Another child was crying and had a severe head injury in the back seat. A Chevrolet pickup was westbound on the I-69 feeder when the driver, identified as Sebastian Lopez ran the red light at the intersection of the Grand Parkway and the I-69 northbound feeder. He struck an Accura with a mother, father, and three children ages 4,8, and 14 in the vehicle that was traveling north through the intersection. The impact drove the Acura into the traffic signal support pole where before ricocheting off and hitting the guard rail on the opposite side of the intersection, it sprayed glass and debris over the Wood Branch patrol unit which was traveling in the u-turn lane from southbound I-69 to northbound. Woodbranch Officer Blackketter immediately called for help and then sprang into action working to stabilize the injured victims. Porter firefighters worked to free at least two of the victims who were trapped. MCHD transported one child to Kingwood, another to Texas Children’s in Houston, and the other to Memorial Hermann in Houston. Perla Ramirez, who was driving the Acura and the mother of the children, and their father Luis Ramirez who was the passenger in the Acura were also in critical condition. Lopez who was driving the truck and his passenger Max Prescott who Lopez had just picked up on Ford Road suffered minor injuries. DPS was assisted by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Unit. A DPS Air Unit responded to the scene to document the scene with a drone. DPS Troopers determined that the brakes were faulty on the truck. Lopez admitted he knew the brakes were bad and had tried to stop using the parking brake not even attempting to use the brake pedal. The driver of the truck, Sebastian Lopez told Troopers that he had been working on the truck brakes and knew they were not operating properly when he decided to pick up his friend and make the trip to Whataburger. Lopez also told Troopers that he almost ran the red light at Loop 494 and Community Drive because the brakes did not work but the light turned green. That location was about one-half mile from the crash location and would have required Lopez to make the turn onto SH 99 to get to where the crash happened. Part of the investigation was Troopers downloaded the Crash Data Recorder in the vehicle. It showed the truck was traveling at 60mph. The speed limit on the Grand Parkway feeder was 45. It also showed on the impact the truck had slowed to 53mph. It also showed that the brake switch circuit was off for the last 8-seconds prior to the crash. Troopers had the truck taken to Weisner GMC in Conroe to assist in the inspection of the truck. It was then determined that the brake fluid reservoir was empty. The right rear brake drum parking brake pad was broken. There was no brake pad or caliper on the front left of the vehicle and the right front was not attached correctly. Al Gomez with Weisner told DPS Troopers that if the vehicle had been in their shop he would not have let the person drive it out because it was to dangerous. He called the truck a “weapon” in its current state.
On November 18, 2022, the 14-year-old child died from his injuries at Memorial Hermann in Houston.
Lopez remains in the Montgomery County Jail, where he has been since his December 22, arrest. The Grand Jury handed down the indictment on Thursday.
Judge Hamilton has not granted the request for his $100,000 bond to be reduced to $25,00 that was requested by his court-appointed attorney. His next bond hearing is set for March 14.