Officials on Tuesday charged Palacios [Uriel Perez Palacios, 22, of Dallas] with two counts of murder and three counts of intoxication assault. A phone listing for Palacios could not be found.
The murder charges are believed to be the first time a Dallas County prosecutor has pursued a DWI case as murder, Leach said.
Dallas County authorities Tuesday were still piecing together Palacios’ extensive arrest record. He’d been arrested as recently as June for driving while intoxicated and was released after paying a $500 fine. He also was involved in two police chases and had four outstanding warrants, officials said.
After a DWI arrest in 2007, his bail was set at $3,500, increased to $100,000 and then lowered back to $3,500, Leach said. It is unclear why the judge lowered the bail, which Palacios paid.
He also was driving on a suspended license, which became invalid on Aug. 14, Leach said.
A Dallas County sheriff’s deputy pulled Palacios over around 2 a.m. Monday after spotting him weaving in traffic, authorities said. The deputy smelled alcohol on Palacios and asked for his keys. Instead, Palacios sped away with his lights off and drove through a red light, striking a sport utility vehicle carrying five Southern Methodist University students.
Palacios’ car went airborne and crashed into the Clouets’ SUV [Second-grade teacher Erika Clouet, 24, and her husband of a little over a month, construction worker and aspiring musician German Clouet], crushing it and killing them at the scene, authorities said. The couple were returning from the movies.
All the SMU students were injured. One had a broken arm, two were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and two more were treated at the scene.