Complaints against DPS, attorney yield no results for grieving family

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Feb. 28, 2014 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated Feb. 28, 2014 at 9:01 p.m.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has determined its investigation into a July 2011 crash that killed a Yorktown couple was thorough.

Victoria County First Assistant District Attorney Eli Garza also has not been found responsible for any wrongdoing by the State Bar of Texas in how he handled the case in which one driver, Logan Curtis, was initially charged with two counts of criminally negligent homicide.

Garza dropped the charges against Curtis in October, citing a lack of evidence.

The court also considered prior accidents and improvements to the intersection of U.S. Highway 87 and Farm-to-Market Road 447, where the wreck occurred.

Curtis' vehicle struck Judy Sullivan, 65, and David Sullivan, 67, on July 10, 2011.

Judy's daughters, Tami Hartman, 46, and Tara Fagan, 49, both of Houston, asked the Office of the Inspector General to look into how troopers investigated the accident.

They also filed a grievance with the State Bar of Texas against Garza.

"The investigation into the complaint did not find that the case was dismissed due to 'DPS errors,'" Tom Vinger, press secretary for the DPS, wrote in an email. "Decisions on whether to accept or pursue charges are the purview of district attorneys' offices across the state, and DPS respects that process."

The State Bar of Texas did not comment about the complaint against Garza.

"Due to the confidentiality provisions set forth in the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Procedure, our office cannot comment on a grievance unless it has resulted in a public sanction or been filed in district court," said Claire Mock, the public affairs administrator for the State Bar of Texas.

Garza has had a clean public disciplinary record for at least 10 years, according to the State Bar.

The wreck report conflicted with what Garza told the family, said Eddie Hartman, Tami Hartman's husband.

Hartman said Thursday that he was satisfied with how DPS investigated the crash for six months. He did not think prior wrecks at the intersection mattered to this case.

The crash occurred before his in-laws reached the intersection, Hartman said.

Vinger said black box data was corrupted. Troopers also took photos of the vehicles' tires but did not collect them.

"The investigation did not indicate that the tires were a factor in the crash," Vinger said.

The family is not sure whether they will continue to pursue the issue.

"We just don't know what our options are now," Hartman said. "We would like to see the boy held accountable for what he did, as anybody would."



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