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Police say speed and alcohol may be factors in fatal wreck
PORT ARTHUR- by Haley Bull
Police arrested the driver of car they said crashed into the back of a vehicle stopped at a red light, killing a 38-year old woman Sunday.
Leroy Rideaux Jr., 27, from Port Arthur is in the Jefferson County Jail charged with intoxicated manslaughter, a second degree felony.
Investigators said they believe both alcohol and speed were factors when Rideaux was driving north on Memorial Blvd. and crashed into the back of Maria Gonzales, 38, Ford Focus around 3 a.m. Sunday morning.
Police said Gonzales was stopped at the south side of a red light at Memorial Blvd. and 39th Street in Port Arthur.
First responders took the Gonzales, from Groves, to the hospital with critical injuries where she died a short time later. A male passenger in her car and Rideaux were also taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police arrested Rideaux after he was released.
One woman who lives near the intersection said she heard the collision.
"I was laying in my bed and I heard a big 'ole kaboom, and I went out onto my balcony and I looked out and I saw two cars and one had spun around," Burnika Fisher said.
The Port Arthur woman said she ran from her apartment to the accident.
"I was scared, I was scared. And I started actually praying soon as you know, I felt you know, that it was very bad," Fisher said.
Investigators said officers smelled an alcoholic beverage coming from Rideaux and that he had glassy and bloodshot eyes and was disoriented after the collision.
"We're pretty confident from the signs and symptoms we saw out there that he was in fact intoxicated," Port Arthur Police Sgt. Scott Gaspard said.
"This morning coming in here, I saw one of the billboards on the highway that said there's already been 283 deaths in Texas this year so we've got a long way to go to make it safe," Gaspard said.
Sunday afternoon, broken glass, debris, medical gloves and spray paint from investigators marking the scene served as a grim reminder the number went up.