DUNCANVILLE AND CEDAR HILL, Texas (CBS11) – As word spread that a pregnant teenager had been killed in a suspected drunk driving crash in Cedar Hill– along with her newborn son– Deeneen Thibodeaux says she felt ill. The mother and grandmother says she grieved for the strangers whose names she learned on the news. “My heart breaks for this family.”
But, the owner of Thibodeaux’s Cajun Cooking, a popular Duncanville restaurant, could not imagine the second gut punch that was coming. Horace Shaw, the off-duty Dallas firefighter that police say had been drinking before he climbed behind the wheel early Wednesday, was a friend… and he’d been a customer at her restaurant in the hours prior to the crash.
“I am extremely sorry that this happened,” says Thibodeaux, her eyes appearing to shine with suppressed tears. “I need this family to know that I would never, Thibodeaux’s would never allow a patron to leave here drunk. Shaw was not drunk when he left my establishment. He had two drinks when he was here.”
Thibodeaux says she is cooperating with police and TABC investigators who have already visited to view surveillance video and review her receipts.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, witnesses told Cedar Hill Police that Shaw was driving in excess of 100 miles per hour when he slammed into the back of Alyssa Pimental’s SUV. She and her boyfriend, Isaiah Perez, were ejected from the vehicle. He has a broken leg, fractured neck and is covered in bruises. Perez told CBS11 that the couple expected to welcome their son on Christmas Day.
After he was released from the hospital, Shaw was booked into the Dallas County Jail and charged with intoxication manslaughter. He posted a $75,000 bond and was released. Still in the South Dallas community where he served at station 44, his arrest adds to the heartbreak of a story that started at awful.
“I was really hurt to find out it was a firefighter going 100 miles an hour,” says Rodney Ingram, just across from the fire station Thursday, while adding that a firefighter’s arrest for causing a fatal drunk driving crash is an extra disappointment. “You just don’t expect that anybody that’s supposed to be saving lives, to harm anybody.”
Ironically, the white Mercedes that Shaw was driving was a friend’s vehicle, the passenger who was also injured in the crash. We are told that the friend had summoned Shaw earlier in the evening to come drive him home because he was impaired. According to the affidavit, police also recovered a flask in the vehicle; but, have not said who owned it.
Also, surveillance video from the restaurant shows that Shaw left between 45 minutes and an hour prior to the fatal crash in nearby Cedar Hill, which suggests that he made another stop prior to the crash. TABC investigators are now looking into what other alcohol he may have consumed and where.
Meanwhile, Thibodeaux, a former banker who says she and her husband stepped out on faith two years ago to open the restaurant, says she has too many lives depending on the restaurant’s success to jeopardize it.
“We grew this from the ground up,” says Thibodeaux, “I take it very serious. And I would never jeopardize it by serving an intoxicated person.”