The Waller County District Attorney released a statement Monday regarding the investigation into the coal-rolling teenager who ran over six cyclists on September 25. The DA has now accused the Waller Police Department of not handling the case appropriately because they failed to treat the scene of the incident as a crime scene.
The police also failed to contact the DA to coordinate how the agencies involved should proceed, or even to alert his office about the incident at all. Elton Mathis, the DA, reiterated there was no official or formal notice from Waller PD after the teen hit the cyclists, and that his office learned of the incident from social media. The following is an excerpt from the DA’s statement, emphasis mine:
This case was not handled appropriately by the investigating agency. PERIOD. Despite being encouraged by the Texas Department of Public Safety to treat the scene as a crime scene and to contact the D.A.‘s Office for advice on how to proceed, the investigating agency chose not to do so. The actions of the Texas Department of Public Safety on scene were professional and we are thankful they were there to assist. We are also working with the Waller County Sheriff’s Office to gather the evidence they are able to provide as they arrived on scene to backup Waller P.D. Sheriff Guidry has been most helpful in this regard.
In light of what the DA refers to as mishandling of the incident by the police, his office is working with Texas DPS, which was on the scene following the incident. The DA claims the Waller County Sheriff was also there, and that his office is relying on both agencies now that a special prosecutor is gathering evidence for the current investigation.
This latest also provided context into earlier comments from the DA that alluded to possible family connections contributing to the lack of consequences for the coal-rolling teen. Back in September, the DA said the following regarding the teen’s identity:
We are also aware of the identity of the juvenile and can guarantee that from the perspective of this office he will receive no favorable or unfavorable treatment based upon who his family may or may not be.
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The DA has now confirmed that the teenager is, in fact, related to a Waller city official:
There has been some online and community speculation that the incident was handled in the manner it was because of connections between the motorist and Waller city officials. At this point we can confirm there are some connections, but have yet to see evidence of a city official directing the officer on the scene as to how to handle this particular situation. We will continue to look for any such criminal interference as the investigation proceeds.
The DA noted that there is no evidence of this having any connection with how Waller PD handled their investigation, but he reasserted this won’t be “a case of small county politics making problems just go away.” The DA maintains the case could be tried before a grand jury as early as this year, pending the results of his office’s investigation.