A Texas politician has been arrested after police said she was high on marijuana when she fatally struck a man and his son with her pickup truck early Monday in Galveston.
Dee Ann Haney, a 54-year-old commissioner in Texas City, has been charged with two counts of intoxicated manslaughter in the deaths of Van Duoc Le, 59, and his son Phue Hong Le, 33, KTRK-TV reports.
Haney admitted to smoking marijuana before the 12:55 a.m. crash, police said in court documents obtained by the news station.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Haney Struck the Father & Son While They Were Trying to Secure Items in Their Truck
Dee Ann Haney struck and killed Van Duoc Le, 59, and his son, Phue Hong Le, 33, while they were outside their truck securing items inside it, KTRK-TV reports.
The crash happened on Interstate 45 northbound near the Galveston Causeway about 12:55 a.m., police said. The two men were outside of a black Toyota Tacoma truck when they were hit by Haney’s pickup truck, a Ford F-150, according to police. The father and son died at the scene.
A third man, the father’s son-in-law, was also at the scene and witnessed the crash.
Haney was taken to the hospital for a mandatory blood draw and later booked into the Galveston City Jail, the news station reports.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by KTRK, a state trooper told investigators Haney was under the influence of marijuana and that she admitted to smoking the drug before the crash. Troopers conducted field sobriety tests to determine she was intoxicated. It is not clear if police believe she was also under the influence of alcohol, or only marijuana.
2. She Has Been a Texas City Commissioner Since 2004 & Is Also the President of the Local Rotary Club
Haney has been a Texas City commissioner since 2004, according to a press release announcing her run for re-election in 2016. She was able to win another two-year term that ends in 2018.
She is a commissioner-at-large, meaning she represents the entire city on the commission, the city’s legislative board.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Texas City and let’s continue working together for an even better Texas City,” she told The Post Newspaper of Galveston County last year. “I enjoy the opportunity to serve the citizens and to in some way give back, even though it is small. By being part of the team that shapes the decisions that affect the community, I am able to make a difference in the way they turn out.”
Haney, a Republican, is also an active member of the local party, often posting on Facebook showing her campaigning for other candidates.
Texas City Mayor Matthew Doyle and other members of the city commission have not commented about Haney’s arrest.
Haney is also the current president of the Rotary Club of Texas City, of which she has been a member since 2012, according to her Linkedin profile. And she is a member of the Board of Trustees at her church, St. John’s United Methodist Church.
3. Haney Worked for NASA for More Than a Decade & Is Now a Lab Safety Coordinator at Texas A&M
Haney worked for NASA for several years as part of a lengthy career in safety, industrial hygiene, environmental and emergency management, according to Texas A&M University, where she now works.
She was a safety representative and emergency management coordinator at the Johnson Space Center in Houston from 1997 to 2000, according to her Linkedin profile. She then worked as an emergency management coordinator for the United Space Alliance from 2000 to 2011.
“She sat on console for seven shuttle launches while working in aerospace for United Space Alliance; advised the Company Crisis Management Team; and assisted with preparation for and recovery after Hurricanes Rita, Gustav, and Ike along with other tropical systems,” Texas A&M says. “Dee Ann was honored on multiple occasions for teamwork and safety, and a NASA astronaut presented her with a Silver Snoopy award for human flight safety and mission success.”
Haney has also worked for Marathon Petroleum, Exxon, Union Carbide, Dow Chemical, Lyondell Petrochemical and at the MOTCO Superfund Site.
She was hired at Texas A&M’s Galveston campus in January as a lab safety and technology coordinator.
“We learned this morning that an employee of Texas A&M University at Galveston, Dee Ann Haney, was involved in a vehicle accident last night that resulted in two deaths,” the university said in a statement. “Our deepest condolences go to the families of those who lost their lives.”
The university told KHOU-TV that Haney has been suspended for five days, which rolls over into 30 days if the issue is not resolved, per standard practice.
4. She Went to Texas City High School Before Graduating From University of Houston & Arizona State
Haney attended Texas City High School, graduating in 1981, according to her Facebook page.
She then went on to earn her associate’s degree in general studies from the College of the Mainland in Texas City in 1984. She later completed a second associates’ degree from the college in physics, biology and chemistry.
Haney also graduated from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 1992 with a degree in industrial hygiene and safety, before earning her master’s degree in technology and emergency management from Arizona State University in 2008 through its distance-learning program.
“In addition, she has received designations as a Certified Safety Professional, Certified Industrial Hygienist, Certified Emergency Manager, and Certified Texas Emergency Manager and was recently named one of College of the Mainland’s Distinguished Alumni for 2016,” Texas A&M says.
5. Haney Faces Up to 40 Years in Prison if Convicted of the Felony Charges
Haney has been charged with two counts of intoxicated manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony in Texas.
If convicted, she faces between 2 to 20 years in prison on each count, along with fines of up to $10,000.
She was released Monday on $100,000 bail, KTRK-TV reports.
According to the news station, a magistrate judge ordered Haney to install a breathalyzer in her vehicle as part of the conditions of her release. She is also not allowed to be in any place that primarily serves alcohol. It is not clear if she had any alcohol in her system along with marijuana.