East Texas DWI Mayhem Kills One, Injures Three, Damages MedEvac Chopper, Spawns Stupid Quote of Year

A connected series of two allegedly alcohol-related car crashes killed one, injured three and sent three others to jail, one in part for asking one of the dumbest questions we've ever read anyone asking at an accident scene.

At 1:30 a.m. Sunday just outside of Palestine, a Chevy Tahoe driven by Erik Shawn Green crossed the center line of Highway 287 and smashed into a Toyota Nissan Xterra. A passenger in the Xterra -- 40-year-old Betsey Salazar of Waco -- was killed, and three other occupants of the same car were taken to hospitals in serious condition.

Green was taken to a hospital in Palestine and treated for minor injuries. He is now in the Anderson County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of bonds totaling $800,000 and facing one charge of intoxicated manslaughter and three counts of intoxicated assault.

While police and medics were clearing up that disaster, 27-year-old Matthew Mitchell attempted to navigate his Chevy Impala through the swirling sea of flashing lights of the fleet of police cruisers and ambulances on the scene. Unfortunately, he plowed into the life-flight chopper's tail fin. (Damages to the chopper were minor and it was apparently able to whisk an injured woman to a local hospital.)

A DPS trooper on the scene quoted Mitchell thusly:

"Why was the helicopter flying so low?"

Perhaps the cops bothered to give Mitchell field-tests at that point. Or perhaps not -- maybe that question was enough to give them everything they needed. In either case, Mitchell was charged with DWI. Passenger Robert Hamm was charged with public intoxication.

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