Woman charged with intoxication manslaughter in fiery crash

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — A woman has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in a crash that left one man dead and a 24-year-old woman injured.

DPS authorities say 28-year-old Suzanne Hodgson, of Austin, was traveling west on State Highway 71 about 7 p.m. when she crashed into the back of a vehicle stopped at a red light at Farm to Market 1209 in Bastrop County. The SUV she was driving pushed a pickup into the back of a semi trailer.

Fiery crash kills one on SH 71 near FM 1209 in Bastrop County. (Courtesy: Jay Arredondo)
Fiery crash kills one on SH 71 near FM 1209 in Bastrop County. (Courtesy: Jay Arredondo)

Lorenzo Ruiz, the driver of the pickup, died at the scene. His passenger, Laura Perez, was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge where she was listed in stable condition. The driver of the semi was not injured.

A witness, Jay Arredondo, tells KXAN News that bystanders were able to help get Perez and Hodgson out of the damaged vehicles.

“Within a minute, maybe two, the whole thing was a big ball of fire, you couldn’t even see the fire underneath it.”

Arredondo says they were not able to get Ruiz out in time. He describes the scene as a disaster zone.

“I saw tears, I saw distraught faces. I saw people that looked like they had been working under the sun, from sweat.”

Arredondo says about 10 to 15 people from both sides of the highway did what they could to help.

Westbound lanes of SH 71 were closed for several hours while investigators and emergency crews worked on clearing the crash.

Hodgson is a reporter for the Smithville Times.

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