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  1. #1
    Crimebytes2's Avatar
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    Fallen Officer - Ernest V. Mendoza

    Chief of Police Ernest V. Mendoza
    Needville Independent School District Police Department
    End of Watch: Friday, January 19, 2007

    Biographical Info
    Age: 54
    Tour of Duty: 10 years
    Badge Number: Not available

    Incident Details
    Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
    Date of Incident: Friday, January 19, 2007
    Weapon Used: Automobile; Alcohol involved
    Suspect Info: Apprehended

    Chief Ernest Mendoza was killed when his patrol car was struck head-on by a drunk driver on FM 1301 in Wharton County.

    The truck driven by the drunk driver veered into the opposite lane, causing the collision. Chief Mendoza was killed instantly upon impact.

    The drunk driver who caused the crash fled on foot but was apprehended by a deputy sheriff a short time later. The man was charged with felony murder and failure to stop and render aid. The driver had four previous DUI convictions. Chief Mendoza had served with the Needville ISD Police Department for 10 years. He is survived by his wife and seven children.

    Agency Contact Information
    Needville Independent School District Police Department
    PO Box 412
    16227 Highway 36
    Needville, TX 77461

    If the powers that be had locked up this POS and thrown away the key, this never would have happened. Seven children are now without their father.

    Thoughts and prayers en-route to Chief Mendoza's family, friends, department, and community. May he rest in eternal peace.

  2. #2
    BigDawg's Avatar
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    RIP my Brother, my thoughts and prayers to your family and dept.
    "An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper

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  3. #3
    kjlaw's Avatar
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    Rip Brother My Thoughts And Prayers Enroute.
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  4. #4
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    Rest in Peace brother.

  5. #5
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  6. #6
    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    Another forum (Cop-Talk.net) had a crash picture that I tracked down - Horrific, not much left of either car. I don't understand for the life of me why a person having 4 DUI convictions should still be driving - He should have been locked away, but I guess he avoided the enhanced sentencing because two convictions were in Georgia.

    Here's the crash photo from the Houston Chronicle:

    I hope he gets hard time for this so he will be kept off the roads till he dies in prison - If they let him out, you JUST KNOW he will eventually climb behind a wheel drunk again

    News story:
    Jan. 20, 2007, 5:38PM

    Needville ISD's police chief dies in car crash

    The Needville ISD police chief was killed in a car crash Friday night while driving to his home near Wharton, and a construction worker with a history of drunken-driving convictions was charged with felony murder, police said.

    Chief Ernest V Mendoza, 54, was pronounced dead at the scene, said Senior Trooper Gary Pflughaupt of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

    Mendoza was westbound on FM 1301 in Wharton County about 9 p.m. in a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria police car when an eastbound 2001 Ford F-150 veered into his lane, Pflughaupt said. The collision occurred at County Road 113. Mendoza, who was wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:15 p.m.

    The driver of the pickup, 29-year-old Guillermo Paniagua of Wharton, ran away on foot and was captured by a sheriff's deputy a short time later, Pflughaupt said. Paniagua, who was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, was taken to a hospital and then to the Wharton County Detention Center. He is charged with felony murder and failure to stop and render aid.

    Pflughaupt said Paniagua has two DWI convictions in Texas and two more in Georgia, and authorities believe he was intoxicated at the time of Friday's accident. Results are pending from a mandatory blood specimen was taken, Pflughaupt said.

    Mendoza had been chief of the Needville Independent School District police for 10 years. He leaves behind a wife and several children.
    Last edited by TXCharlie; 01-21-07 at 11:41 PM.

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  7. #7
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  8. #8
    countybear's Avatar
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    I'll bet this guy protested all four of his DWI arrests by whining that he wasn't hurting anyone...

    The penalty in El Salvador for DWI 1st offense once was roadside execution by the military police, cases like this almost make that seem reasonable, if only for the sheer lack of recidivism.

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  9. #9
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    Fair winds and following seas Chief.
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