A 22-year-old Dripping Springs man is being blamed for the death of another motorist after he reportedly sped his Chevy Corvette up to 114 mph before he lost control and hit a utility pole, causing it to fall across a Hays County road last April, authorities say.
The driver of the Corvette, Dustin Howard Smith, fled on foot from the area, leaving the wooden pole suspended about five feet above Fitzhugh Road early April 29, 2011. At about 4:49 a.m., Jerry Morton, 63, of Dripping Springs, was driving eastbound on the road when he collided with the pole, forcing his truck to veer off the road and strike a stone mailbox. His truck caught fire and Morton was pronounced dead on the scene, an arrest affidavit says.
Upon investigation into the crash, Department of Public Safety Trooper Mario Garcia, Jr. found the 2008 Corvette to be registered to Smith. That day, a sample of the driver’s side airbag that had blood on it was taken as evidence along with the car’s electronic device recorder, the report says.
An inspection of the recorder revealed that the car was traveling 114 mph along the posted 45 mph road just before the crash. Garcia obtained a search warrant to gather a DNA sample from Smith that eventually matched him to the bloody airbag.
On March 22, Smith was booked into Hays County Jail for manslaughter, a second-degree felony. The same day he posted a $100,000 bond, jail records show.
Morton, who had worked in rainwater harvesting, was a single father who left behind three children, aged 6, 13 and 15, according to a webpage and Facebook page dedicated to him. His 15-year-old son has muscular dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair.