Watch CBS News

Officer Survives Wrong-Way Crash In Dallas

Graphic of police crime scene tape over gun crosshairs and the outline of a body. (credit: (AP Photo)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Milton Smith was headed home along I-20 when his car was hit head on by a drunk wrong way driver.

Smith, 62, a police officer with the Dallas County Community College District and a former pastor, was headed home after working off-duty at a Denny's overnight.

Doctors told his wife, the bullet-proof vest he was wearing, and his seat belt, saved his life.

"I think God had a hand with everything coming together when it happened and how it happened and having him survive," said Milton Smith's son, Trey Smith.

Smith was transported to Baylor Hospital with multiple fractures in both legs, two broken ribs and head and neck injuries, and is in critical but stable condition, according to his son.

The suspected drunk driver, Juan Ramon Hernandez, 26, was driving eastbound in the westbound lanes around 6 a.m. near Bonnieview when he struck Smith's vehicle. Hernandez's blood alcohol level was .26, three times the legal limit, according to Carmen Castro, spokesperson for the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.

A passenger in Hernandez's vehicle died at the scene. His identity is still unknown.

Investigators don't know where Hernandez was going or where he had been. He is now facing one county of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault.

"He wasn't very coherent at the time so we are waiting for him to be cooperative. He insisted that he didn't know the passenger," Castro said.

Smith's vehicle was almost unrecognizable and smashed in. Trey Smith said it was the grace of God that saved his father.

"He's got a fight ahead of him so we'll help him get through that," Smith said.

Smith prays people will stop driving drunk.

"I think it's sad that there's been such an attempt at letting people know the danger of drinking and driving yet we still have these problems," he said.

The Smith family and close friends are hopeful Milton Smith will make a full recovery.

Hernandez was arrested in 2008 for possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.