DWI Suspect Out Of Jail Hours After Accident - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/22/07-Tyler

DWI Suspect Out Of Jail Hours After Accident

"They're being mean to me. I cannot get no air, and I hope this is on the radio. I hope this is on the news," Melinda Jackson screamed, handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser.

That was her bizarre behavior on the scene of Thursday's accident. Police say the distracted driver slammed into a teenager standing in the road and was given a field sobriety test.

We learned today Jackson was able to bond out of jail the same day.

"She has no business being out of jail. She has no business being behind the wheel of a car," says Judy Uithoven, who learned about the accident watching the news Thursday.

"If it's her first offense, it's a Class B misdemeanor. Generally the bond on those is $500," says Tyler Police Public Information Officer Don Martin.

The day before, Jackson was arrested for four warrants, including public intoxication. She spent three hours behind bars.

She spent less than five hours in jail after Thursday's accident. She was charged with a DWI.

"So how do explain to someone, a Regular Joe on the outside looking in, that whoever commits a DWI and hits someone, how can they get out of jail the same day?," asks KLTV 7 Reporter Christine Nelson to Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham.

Bingham replies, "That's not my decision. Whether a person bonds out of jail when they're arrested is not a decision the District Attorney's office makes."

Bingham says for the DWI charge to be upgraded, there has to be evidence Jackson's actions caused serious bodily injury.

The victim has two broken legs and a severe laceration to his mid-section.

"It's an officer out there, looking at the evidence of the case and making the best call he can make based on the individual evidence and facts of that case," says Bingham.

Martin adds, "The subject had already left the scene before most of the officer's got there, because the ambulance got there and he needed to get to the hospital."

Only time will tell if DWI charges stick as the accused exercises her right to walk free.

Bingham says there's nothing the DA's office can do about the charge until they get the case from Tyler police.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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