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Fatal Wrong-Way Crash Driver Had Three Previous DUI Convictions

Dallas Police have arrested a man on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol that led to a fatal wrong-way crash on Monday. 

NBCDFW Channel 5 in Dallas reports that police have arrested Chaz Halston Thames, 30, after he drove his 2012 Land Rover northbound in the southbound lanes of the North Dallas Tollway and then collided head-on with another vehicle. The crash caused Thames vehicle to catch fire.

A spokesperson for the Dallas Police Department issued a statement to reporters saying that the driver of the other vehicle has been identified as Melvin Anthony Taylor, 57. Taylor was declared dead at the scene of the crash a short time after it happened.

Thames was still inside his burning vehicle when police arrived and was rescued by an officer who used his baton to break through the vehicle’s window and pull him to safety. Thames was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas for treatment.

Police say that Thames failed the field sobriety tests issued to him by officers at the scene and refused to take a blood-alcohol test. A warrant was issued by the court to take a blood sample. Once released from the hospital, Thames, who is currently on parole for a previous DUI sentence in 2016, was arrested and booked into Dallas County Jail on the charge of intoxication manslaughter. Thames bond was at $100.000 by the court.

Court records indicate that before Monday’s fatal crash, Thames had been previously convicted of drunken driving in 2011, 2013, and 2016.  In 2016, Thames had been issued a 10-year-jail sentence for his role in another wrong-way crash that resulted in the death of 23-year-old Shelby Stephens.

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