Intoxicated driver pleads guilty for deadly crash that took life, sentenced to 10 years in prison

By: Montgomery County District Attorney's Office
| Published 12/13/2019


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- On November 21, 2019, Donny Lee Brandon pled guilty to Intoxication Manslaughter for causing the death of Nestor Carazo-Hernandez on June 19, 2019. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Brandon was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The range of punishment for Intoxication Manslaughter is 2 to 20 years in prison. Due to the affirmative finding of a deadly weapon, Brandon will have to serve at least half his sentence before he is eligible for parole. On December 12, 2019, Brandon was brought back to court so that the Carazo-Hernandez family could give impact statements to Brandon and the court.

Just after midnight on June 19, 2019, Brandon, 26, as he was attempting to exit Interstate 45 North onto the 242 flyover, struck Nestor Carazo-Hernandel’s vehicle. Carazo-Hernandez had previously crashed at this location, and was being assisted out of his vehicle by bystanders, when Brandon's vehicle crashed into Carazo-Hernandez and his vehicle, resulting in Carazo-Hernandels death. Several bystanders were on the phone with 911 as Brandon crashed into Carazo-Hernandez, and Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Deputies were arriving on scene.

Brandon was transported to Memorial Hermann — The Woodlands, where Department of Public Safety Troopers conducted their investigation and determined that Brandon was intoxicated. Brandon consented to providing a specimen of his blood and subsequent testing showed that Brandon's blood alcohol concentration was more than double the legal limit.

After the court accepted the plea and pronounced sentence, Brandon heard victim impact statements from Carazo-Hernandez' mother and sister. Carazo-Hernandez was remembered as a wonderful father, brother, uncle, and son, so much that he was the pillar of the family. The family fondly remembers Carazo-Hernandels actions caring nature— including buying his mother a vehicle, and always being there for his daughter. In 2017, Carazo-Hernandez helped after the volcano eruption in Guatemala by buying items to send to the recovering community
This case was a multi-agency effort. Texas Department of Public Safety, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office Deputies, the Shenandoah Police Department, and our Vehicular Crimes Prosecutors all responded to the scene of the crash and worked together for a thorough investigation. The case was prosecuted by Vehicular Crimes Prosecutors ADA Sara Corradi, ADA Brent Chapell, and Vehicular Crimes Chief ADA Andrew James.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew James: 'This plea is a direct result of the hard work put in by the officers on scene. Their detailed and thorough investigation allowed us to hold Mr. Brandon accountable for his actions. Unfortunately, this case reminds us that those killed by intoxicated drivers are not the only victims. The damage to Nestor Carazo-Hernandez's family cannot be undone.'

District Attorney Brett Ligon: 'This type of case is the reason we continue to prosecute those who drive intoxicated to the fullest extent possible. While this type of plea cannot bring back the life of Nestor Carazo-Hernandez, we can hope that the plea will discourage others from following in Mr. Brandon's footsteps and getting behind the wheel when impaired.'

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