In Royse City, a motor vehicle accident that authorities say they believe is an instance of intoxication manslaughter has taken the life of Fifth District Court of Appeals Justice David Bridges.
The crash happened Saturday (July 25) around 9:30 p.m. on Interstate 30, near Farm-to-Market Road 2642. Royse City police said that Megan Smith, 32, of Royse City was driving the wrong way in the westbound lanes and hit two vehicles, one of which was driven by Bridges. His car caught fire and Bridges was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The driver of the other vehicle struck by Smith was not injured, they said.
Police said they believe Smith was intoxicated at the time. She received minor injuries, for which she was treated at an area hospital, before being charged with intoxication manslaughter and booked into the Hunt County Detention Center, where she remains, with bond set at $150,000.
Bridges, 65, of Rockwall, was elected to the Dallas-based Fifth District Court of Appeals in 1996, according to his biography on the state courts website. He was born in Fort Worth in 1955 and served in the U.S. Army 1973-1974. He worked at General Electric and graduated from Tyler Junior College and the Uiversity of T at Tyler. After college, he worked as a Petroleum Landman Crew Chief acquiring subsurface mineral rights from landowners for the purposes of oil and gas exploration. He later went on to study law at Texas Tech School of Law. Justice Bridges was married to Sandy Bridges and had two daughters, Elizabeth and Alex.
"It’s very upsetting, it's tragic news. This was a wonderful man, one of those people that had great character, well respected in law school and served in the military," Toby Shook, a criminal attorney and former prosecutor who went to law school with Bridges, told NBCDFW.
"It’s devastating to the legal community because he was a very well respected justice. Respected by attorneys all across this area, he will be hard to replace, but also it’s just going to be a great loss as a leader, he led by example and well respected by all of his friends and colleagues," Shook said.