A Texas family will be planning a funeral instead of celebrating the upcoming Christmas holiday. 23-year-old Taylor Phillips was killed by 19-year-old drunk driver, Erick Hernandez, after he allegedly crossed three lanes of traffic before the crashing into her SUV, which was also carrying her mother and one-year-old son, Mason.
Prosecutors say a video from inside a bar showed Hernandez consuming 12 alcoholic beverages, including three tequila shots, over the course of 6 hours and was alleged never asked for identification despite being under the legal drinking age.
A total of 5 bar employees, four bartenders, and one manager were arrested for serving the teen alcohol, and court documents show the bar did not have a liquor license and was only allowed to serve beer and wine.
Sean Teare, Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Division in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said, “Literally one minute after he left (the bar), he took the life of Ms. Phillips. Right now there are Christmas presents under a tree for a mother who will never open them, a child who will never know his mother because of the irresponsible actions of all six individuals charged in this tragedy.”
Carmen Rainer, Phillip’s Mother, told ABC13, her, her daughter and grandson were on their way back after a weekend of visiting family in New Orleans and were five minutes away from home when the crash happened.
She said, “The drunk driver came out of nowhere. We didn’t see him until he was right up on us…I was out for a minute, but the baby crying woke me up. I saw smoke and tried to get out of my seatbelt and open the door. I tried to get my grandson out. He was stuck under her, and I couldn’t get him out. People weren’t stopping to help. I had to go into the street to wave my arms because they wouldn’t stop. It took three men to get Mason from under her. His leg was stuck under her. I had to move her, and that’s when I realized she was gone.”
Hernandez has been charged with intoxication manslaughter but is currently out on $30,000 bond. A GoFundMe fund has been started to help support Mason, and it has raised more than $3,700 of its $5,000 goal so far.