The vehicular crimes section was started up under disgraced former District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal and was seen as former prosecutor Warren Diepraam's baby. Mr. Diepraam is now working for the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office
According to a statement released by the DA's office, prosecutors in the vehicular crimes section "deviated" from office policy in filing criminal charges in the cases that are under review.
"The Vehicular Crime Section had deviated from the long-standing practice of this office concerning what was necessary to raise a civil negligent traffic accident case to that of criminal negligence." -- Harris County DA's Office statement
In response to claims from law enforcement personnel that this case review would make Houston's roads more dangerous for motorists, the DA's office said, in a written statement, that streets would not be made less safe if the office followed the law when deciding when to bring criminal charges against a motorist.
The sad reality of living in a major metropolitan area is that with more cars on the roads, accidents are more likely to happen -- including fatality accidents. In Houston we like to drive fast, and that leads to accidents. But that's what they are, for the most part -- accidents. There is a difference between civil negligence and criminal negligence when it comes to accidents.
It's one thing to cause an accident because you're driving too fast, it's quite another to cause an accident because you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol or because you're involved in a high-speed race on the freeway.