The Waller County District Attorney has charged the coal-rolling teenager who ran over a group of cyclists with multiple felonies, each pertaining to the cyclists the teen struck, for a total of six felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
The DA, Elton Mathis, released the statement on Monday, saying the charges come after weeks of reconstructing the incident and collecting evidence that was not gathered immediately in the aftermath of the event. The following is the DA’s statement, emphasis mine:
...Over the last six weeks this office has assigned its own investigators to seek out evidence, and to interview the victims and witnesses. We very much appreciate the patience of the victims and their attorneys as we have attempted to reconstruct the events, and to assess and gather the evidence that was not obtained that day. Today we have filed six felony charges of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon against the juvenile in question, one charge for each cyclist that was injured. Earlier today the juvenile voluntarily surrendered himself, and was detained by representatives from the juvenile justice department where he will be held in custody until further orders of the juvenile court. Thanks to the Waller County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety for their assistance in seeking justice for these individuals...
The teenager turned himself in on Monday prior to the DA’s public statement. As the DA notes, the teen is in custody pending word from the juvenile court.
The DA goes on to thank the Waller County Sheriff and the Department of Public Safety but does not explicitly mention the Waller Police Department. The absence is notable because the DA and the city’s chief of police had exchanged accusatory statements following the incident.
The DA said that the police department failed to treat the scene as a crime scene and that the police failed to contact his office regarding the incident. The chief of police responded by saying that while it was true that the investigation was not handled appropriately, the issue would be addressed internally.
The attorney for the teenager said the following to Houston’s Chron:
“My client and his family continue to pray for the quick recovery of the injured bikers,” wrote the defendant’s lawyer Rick DeToto in a text message. “Due to the confidentiality laws surrounding juvenile cases, we have no further comment at this time.”
In another detailed statement, the cyclists’ own attorneys said that those who were run over are slowly recovering:
In Texas, criminally charging someone under the age of 17 as an adult requires a process culminating in certification by a County Court at Law judge, not simply the willingness of a prosecutor to file such charges at their sole discretion. Like we experience every day within the civil silo of our pursuit for cycling justice, accountability is rarely ever instantaneous or swift; it’s more like a pipeline in which arriving at the best possible outcome requires the opening of one valve at a time to allow the passage from one step to the next.
The Waller County D.A. and Special Prosecutor are neither a judge nor a jury. However, they did take their criminal investigation to an empaneled Grand Jury last week to fight for our clients, for justice, and the ability to open this valve in the long process ahead to hold this driver accountable for the crimes with which he’s been charged when he struck 6 humans who simply wanted to ride their bicycles without being terrorized by the driver of an almost 8,000 lb diesel truck.
The cyclist’s attorneys also noted that the charges are a solid step towards a resolution but they’re far from being the final steps in this incident, which will likely come from the juvenile justice department and its court.