San Antonio, TX – A 30-year-old woman is facing manslaughter charges after she allegedly drove drunk on Sunday and hit a deputy’s patrol unit, causing it to flip over and land on top of two innocent victims on their way to visit family for the holidays.
The incident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 22 at Interstate 10 and Boerne Stage Road near Leon Springs after a family was involved in a car accident on the highway, KENS reported.
The Arizona family was traveling through Texas on their way to visit family in Florida, KSAT reported.
They called 911 to report the wreck and their disabled vehicle, and a Bexar County sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene to help the stranded family.
The deputy parked his patrol vehicle about 75 feet away from their sedan and then let the family’s daughter sit in his patrol vehicle to keep her warm while they waited for the traffic to clear and a tow truck to finish loading the other vehicle involved in the accident, WOAI reported.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said that was about the time that 30-year-old Natalie Saldana was barreling toward them at 90 mph.
Investigators believe that Saldana was coming home from a night at a bar where she had been drinking “hard liquor” when she lost control of her vehicle, WOAI reported.
Saldana hit the deputy’s cruiser so hard that it flipped over and fell on the couple who had been in the car and crushed them.
A 36-year-old man in critical condition was transported by helicopter to University Hospital, KENS reported.
The child and her mother were transported to the same hospital facility by ambulance.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said the deputy received only minor injuries in the crash, KENS reported.
“They were injured, but not nearly to the extent that they could have been,” Sheriff Salazar said.
Saldana was also transported to the hospital and initially faced multiple drunk-driving charges, including intoxication assault.
Her bond for when she was released from the hospital was originally set at $75,000, KENS reported.
“Her legal troubles have only just begun at this point,” Sheriff Salazar told KSAT.
The 36-year-old victim of the wreck later died at the hospital, WOAI reported.
Saldana’s charges were upgraded after he expired and she was charged with intoxication manslaughter.
The sheriff would not release Saldana’s blood alcohol content and said the woman did not have any criminal history, KSAT reported.
“Just one night of indiscretion, one bad decision to get behind the wheel,” Sheriff Salazar said. “She’s affected a lot of people’s lives much worse. It was due to one silly decision on her part.”