MABANK, Texas — A 32-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter in connection with a fatal crash that left a roadside utility worker dead.
Mabank police say 32-year-old Chandler Martin Mitchell was operating a Chevrolet pickup truck in the 18000 block of Farm-to-Market (FM) 90 on March 13, 2020, at approximately 9:30 a.m. when he struck a roadside utility worker. That worker was transported to a hospital in Gun Barrel City and pronounced deceased.
Mitchell, according to the Mabank Police Department, provided a voluntary written and verbal statement to police — stating he was traveling southbound on FM 90, observed the work truck on the side of the road, and the victim standing with his door open and his back to oncoming traffic.
"Mitchell stated the man looked back and appeared to be startled and attempted to run to the far side of the road," stated the department. "Mitchell then attempted to move further over in order to miss the victim, being unable to do so, and his vehicle struck the victim."
Mitchell's statements however, contradicted what investigators later learned from obtaining his vehicle's Event Data Recorder.
"According to the information recovered from Mitchell's vehicle, it stated that he was traveling 66 miles per hour, 4 seconds prior to impact," stated the department. "It also provided evidence that Mitchell did not attempt to activate the brakes until he struck the victim."
By law, police say Mitchell was required to travel 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed, or 35 miles per hour, when passing the victim's utility vehicle — which was described by police as a work-style Chevrolet Colorado with several caution lights activated, including blue, white, and amber lights, and visible yellow warning labels on the vehicle's tailgate.
"Investigator Billy Snell obtained an arrest warrant based on the facts that Chandler Martin Mitchell committed the offense of Manslaughter, Texas Penal Code 19.04 by unlawfully operating a motor vehicle on the Texas roadways, due to his not eligible driving status; Texas Transportation Code § 521.457(a)(2) Driving while License Invalid; and violating the Texas Transportation Code § 545.157 (b)(2)(A) Passing Certain Vehicles," further stated the department.
"Mitchell recklessly stuck the victim with his vehicle and caused his death."
Mitchell was arrested by the Mabank Police Department on March 27, 2020, charged with manslaughter, and transported to the Kaufman County Jail where he is being held on a $350,000 bond.