Drunk driver sobers up, dodges criminal charges after defunded Austin police take hours to respond to crash due to understaffing, couple claims

A couple who were driving with their two children over the weekend claimed they were hit head-on by a drunk driver. After taking hours to respond to the accident due to a staffing problem, the Austin Police Department got sober and avoided criminal charges.

Lacy Persiful said fox news digital She, her husband, and her two children were hit by a drunk driver in North Austin around 4:00 pm on March 18.

Perciful was driving down Jollyville Road after visiting the aquarium when the male driver crossed two lanes of traffic and collided with a family car, Perciful explained.

“Head on, no brakes, airbags deploying, kids screaming, smoke, adrenaline, we started screaming and getting kids out of the car,” she said.

The family claimed the driver, in his 70s, was drunk. Persiful said a bus driver who was present at the crash site said the male driver “smells like alcohol” and “refusing to get out of the car.”

The man sat in the car for “more than 30 minutes” and when he finally emerged, he was “falling to the ground, making strange noises and acting strangely,” Persiful said.

After the family called authorities five times and waited 2.5 hours, Austin police officers responded to the incident.

The couple said the officer who responded told them there were only five officers working in the area at the time. I was able to walk freely.

“Everybody could smell the alcohol from this guy,” Perciful claimed. I’m not just blaming him, he just came out and told us, he had no regrets.”

The male suspect “never asked if our children were okay,” Perciful added, and didn’t even apologize for the accident.

According to Adam Loewy, the couple’s personal injury attorney, the area would normally have about 25 police officers assigned if the department was properly staffed. He said the police’s slow response allowed the driver to stay calm and dodge criminal charges.

“Many times I’ve heard police officers say to me, ‘Look, we don’t have enough people working, so if that’s the scenario, these men and women would take another call and say, More calls come in. What happens is you just have to wait.

Loewy added that it was unlikely that a lawsuit would be filed against the city. However, he said he could file a civil suit against the suspect’s insurance company and the bar that served him.

The police force has dwindled since 2020, when the Austin Police Department budget was cut in the wake of the George Floyd riots. The city council recently reneged on previously agreed contracts and many officers retired.

The department told Fox News Digital that it received the first 911 call for Persiful at 4:18 p.m. and police units were assigned to the call at 6:11 p.m.

“That sector and surrounding sectors were busy assisting other emergency calls,” Austin Police said. “Even if they are well staffed, there may not always be enough police officers for every call that arrives, as incidents and calls are answered by police officers.”

“Our officers are working hard every day to handle the high volume of calls we may receive and respond accordingly with the resources at hand,” the department added.

“Unfortunately, this level of service is not what we would like to provide to our community. We are evaluating how we can improve.”


Head-on collision due to drunk driving. Austin, TX police department still hasn’t arrived… 2 hours later!!!!

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