DALLAS (CBS11 I-TEAM) – A heartbroken Dallas mother said she believes a broken system put her son on a deadly collision course with a troubled ex-con.
On March 12, Patrick Henry, 18, was killed in a crash at the intersection W. Camp Wisdom and S. Hampton Road in Dallas.
The driver who killed Henry had recently been dismissed early from Dallas County adult probation despite a history of criminal activity when he was not under community supervision.
Henry’s mother, Shandreneka Perkins said, “If he was still under supervision, my son would still be alive today.”
Perkins had just left church on a spring Sunday afternoon when she received the frantic call from her sister about a crash involving her son.
Perkins rushed to the scene just a few miles away but by the time she arrived there was nothing she could do.
In shock, the Dallas mother stared at the crumpled SUV where her son’s body was trapped inside.
“I stood there for an hour and thirty minutes watching them get him out,” Perkins said. “My baby was lying in the car and it was hurtful because everybody else walked away.”
Henry was the passenger of the SUV that was broad-sided in the middle of the intersection. The collision caused the SUV to roll multiple times.
Henry was declared dead at the scene.
Kelly Elie, 43, was arrested for intoxication manslaughter. According to the police report, Elie was driving 90 miles per hour down W. Camp Wisdom Road when he ran a red light.
Elie had his own 7-year-old son in the back seat of the car when it crashed. The young child survived.
Officers at the scene reported Elie spit and cursed at them. In the police report, a supervising officer noted Elie shouting, “I’m gonna kill you”.
Four months before the March crash, a judge dismissed Elie early from his Dallas County community supervision sentence.
He had been sentenced to eight years of adult probation for a 2011 crash but was released after five years.
When the CBS 11 I-Team shared with Perkins Elie’s prior criminal record, she said she believes the system failed her son.
Victim: Patrick Henry, 18
Henry recently graduated from Cedar Hill High School and was set to start barber school.
His mother said even though he was 18-years-old, Henry still smiled and laughed like he did when he was a kid.
“He was just Patrick,” Perkins said. “Funny, dancing, little kid – always ruining around, jumping, making us laugh.”
Just moments before the crash Henry used FaceTime to call his mother. It’s something he did every day.
Perkins told Henry she would pick him up later that afternoon to go on a family spring break trip to Oklahoma.
“He said ‘Alright, I love you’. I said, ‘I love you too’ – not knowing that would be the last time I would see him alive through a FaceTime video,” Perkins said.
Driver, Kelly Elie, 43
Elie’s intoxication manslaughter charge is not his first run in with the law.
Elie has felony convictions for Robbery and Assault On A Public Servant. He has also been charged with Family Violence, Feeling From Police and drunk driving.
However, it’s another crash from six years ago, where Elie pleaded guilty to failure to render aid, that caught the attention of CBS 11 I-Team.
Records show in 2011, Elie was driving when he hit four cars before jumping out and car-jacking another driver.
Elie eventually wrecked the stolen car and was arrested.
After being taken to Parkland Hospital doctors discovered Elie needed help. According to court records, Elie is bi-polar, schizophrenic, and suffered from psychotic episodes.
The court decided jail wasn’t the right place for Elie, so instead a judge gave him eight years of adult probation.
Elie was placed in an intensive mental health program, given counseling, and drug testing.
For the first time in a long time, Elie was staying out trouble.
But then, it stopped.
Just over half way through his probation term, Elie was dismissed early.
“They always say if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, So if it worked why, would you change it?,” Perkins questioned.
Unintended Consequences Of Early Dismissal Law
Dallas County Adult Probation Director, Javey Syed said that Texas law requires the court to review all probation sentences. He also said that if an offender, half way through their probation sentence, has no violations the defendant is almost always dismissed early.
That’s what happened with Elie.
“I think we think –with this particular individual – we did the best we could have done,” Syed explained. “I wish we could have completely changed him. I wish it wouldn’t have happened. I really don’t know what else to say,” Syed continued.
In Dallas County, less than 12 percent of those supervised by adult probation reoffend.
But when dismissed from probation and are no longer having to check-in, the story changes for many offenders.
In the three years after probation 26 percent find themselves in trouble with the law once more.
The county said the sentence review law helps lighten the case-load on overworked probation officers and is intended to dismiss those least-likely to re-offend.
Syed said that every now and then there can be unintended consequences.
The Dallas County probation director said he’s met with judges to try and come up with something they can do to better support offenders when they are dismissed from adult probation.
Elie had been off probation for just four months when he killed Henry.
Elie declined our request for an interview.