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Old 12-05-2004, 02:34 PM
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Default Driver says he didn't cause accident that killed mother

Driver says he didn't cause accident that killed mother

Officers report erratic driving; jailed suspect cites police intimidation

09:02 PM CST on Friday, December 3, 2004

By JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News

William Lee Roe says he did not cause this week's chain-reaction crash that killed a young single mother and injured her baby.

The 24-year-old Garland man also said in a jailhouse interview Friday that police intimidated him into admitting that he had smoked marijuana within about three hours of Wednesday's Stemmons Freeway crash that killed Releah McCauley, 20, of Plano, and seriously injured her 15-month-old daughter, Chloe.

"I'm being slaughtered," said Mr. Roe, a Richland College student who works for a temporary agency. "I'm getting blamed for it. I know that isn't right."

Police investigators could not be reached Friday night for comment but have said that their investigation shows he caused the accident.

Police said that at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mr. Roe was driving erratically south on Interstate 35E near Royal Lane when he brushed a tractor-trailer, sending it over a concrete median wall, landing on Ms. McCauley's car.

Passers-by pulled Chloe from the wreckage; she is expected to recover. No one else was seriously injured.

After the crash, officers questioned Mr. Roe and gave him a field sobriety test, which they say he failed. He said he had smoked marijuana earlier Wednesday, police said. He was arrested on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault.

Mr. Roe, speaking Friday at Lew Sterrett Justice Center, said he and a Paul Quinn College student were headed to the campus in Dallas to run an errand Wednesday. At some point, he said, he changed lanes and the tractor-trailer hit his Lincoln Town Car, sending it into a spin.

"I want to know why the semi driver isn't in jail," he said.

He did admit that his leg was "shaking" during his first field sobriety test but said that it was because it was cold outside. After that first test, he said, officers began asking him if he had drunk alcohol or smoked marijuana that day. One told him that his clothes smelled of marijuana, he said.

The officer "kept asking and asking," Mr. Roe said, adding that he kept telling police he hadn't smoked in about a week and that he doesn't drink. Finally, he said, he told the officer that he smoked at about 10 a.m. that day, about three hours before the crash.

"I thought she would leave me alone if I gave her the answers she wanted," he said.

Mr. Roe, who said his criminal history includes auto theft, burglary and marijuana possession, added: "Police make me nervous. I've taken falls for stuff I didn't do. I figure if I told them what they wanted to hear," they would arrest him for driving while intoxicated.

He said that he smokes marijuana about twice a month but has never driven under the influence. "If I smoke, I'm either going to ride with someone or sit at the house until it wears off."

Police said blood tests to determine if Mr. Roe had drugs or alcohol in his system will take weeks.

He said he didn't know anyone had died in the crash for hours after he was arrested.

"When I first learned what happened, my heart shattered," said Mr. Roe, himself a father of three young children. "I send my condolences to the family. I'm sorry that they had to take a loss on a freak accident. That's what this was.

"Someone has to take the blame, [but] I don't want to lose my life for something that I didn't do."

Wednesday's crash was the third in as many days that resulted in a death in Dallas.

Just after midnight Friday, Dumisani Moyo, 29, of Dallas died after he lost control of his car and it struck another on Royal Lane near the Dallas North Tollway. The other driver was unhurt.

Jose Ibarra, 37, and Julio Cortez, 32, died after their car collided with a sport utility vehicle that crossed into oncoming traffic on Denton Drive near Burbank Street in the Love Field area about 3:20 a.m. Thursday.
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