Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Manslaughter indictment of New Braunfels resident

It was a terrible tragedy for the medical community.

Let Justice be served.

Local man indicted in doctor's death


A San Antonio grand jury indicted a New Braunfels man Monday on charges of manslaughter in the death of an emergency room doctor who died as a result of injuries sustained after he was hit by an SUV.

Philip Craig Smith, 47, of New Braunfels was driving his red 2005 Ford Explorer on Jan. 11, 2009 in the 11600 block of Bandera Road when he struck Michael Sanchez, a doctor and director of University Hospital’s emergency department, who was running on the side of the road toward O.P. Schnabel Park to meet his wife, according to police reports.

Emergency workers transported Sanchez, who was 52 years old, to University Hospital after other runners and his colleagues failed to revive him.

Smith said he was driving to have his brakes fixed when his cell phone rang, according to a police report. Smith said he answered the phone and when he saw Sanchez he hit the brakes, which locked up, and his vehicle hit the runner.

But a seven-month investigation by the Bexar County District Attorney’s office and a seven-month inquiry by police showed Smith was under the influence of prescription medication, said Cliff Herberg, first assistant district attorney. The DA’s office is also alleging Smith’s vehicle “was not roadworthy,” he said.

Witnesses said in a police report they saw Smith driving in the left lane and then suddenly swerve to the right lane toward Sanchez, who was jogging on the road.

On Tuesday, Smith was still at large, Herberg said. There is a $20,000 bond issued for his arrest. If convicted, he could face between two and 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. If Smith has no prior felony convictions, Herberg said, he could be eligible for probation.