Georgetown man pleads guilty in fatal 2009 wreck
Luke Anthony Looschen faces up to 100 years in prison for wrong-way crash on Texas 29.
Updated: 12:49 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010
Published: 8:54 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010
A Georgetown man pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault, admitting guilt in causing a three-vehicle collision last summer that killed four people and injured two others.
Luke Anthony Looschen, 48, entered his plea before District Judge Burt Carnes in a Williamson County courtroom. A sentencing hearing has been set for March 12 . He faces up to 100 years in prison.
The guilty plea was not part of a plea agreement, Looschen's attorney Mike Davis and Williamson County Assistant District Attorney Robert McCabe said in court.
"Mr. Looschen has acknowledged his guilt from the get-go on this, and he felt the proper thing to do was to plead guilty," Davis said later.
Family members of those killed in the wreck wept in the courtroom as Looschen entered his plea.
Looschen, who has been in the Williamson County Jail with bail set at $600,000 since his arrest, showed no visible emotion during the hearing.
"Did you use your truck as a deadly weapon in this case?" McCabe asked.
"Yes, sir, I did," Looschen replied.
Because of that admission, Looschen must serve at least half of the sentence he receives, and Carnes cannot sentence him to probation, Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley said.
Looschen was arrested Aug. 10 after troopers said he was driving a pickup east in a westbound lane of Texas 29 near Jonah and collided head-on with a Jeep and a van carrying seven people. The van slid down an embankment and struck a tree, according to a Department of Public Safety crash report.
The driver of the Jeep was not seriously injured, officials said.
In the van, Pete Mendez, 44, and Paula Martinez, 38 , were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. Two passengers died later at University Medical Center Brackenridge: Crystal Martinez , the 16-year-old daughter of Paula Martinez and Clemente Martinez, the driver; and Stephanie Valadez, 24, who was dating the couple's son.
Valadez's daughter Tristan and son Jacob, who were 3 and 1, respectively, at the time of the wreck, were treated at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple and released.
Clemente Martinez was not seriously injured, officials said.
After the wreck, DPS trooper Otto Cabrera wrote in an arrest affidavit that he "could smell the strong odor of metabolized alcohol from Looschen." Looschen told Cabrera that he'd been drinking and had taken antidepressants as well as hydrocodone, according to the affidavit. Hydrocodone can be used as a cough suppressant or a pain reliever.
Blood test results later revealed that Looschen's blood alcohol content level was 0.16 , or twice the legal limit of 0.08 , according to the DPS crash report. Looschen had been in a previous one-vehicle accident on July 16 in Williamson County, which he later discussed on his Facebook page. He said on the Web site that he had totaled his truck and "sustained some scrapes, bruises and lacerations." On Aug. 3, a few days before the fatal crash, he wrote on Facebook that he was getting a replacement truck that day.
In 2006, Looschen was in a motorcycle accident with his ex-wife, 43-year-old Shanan Looschen, in Georgetown, police said.
Shanan Looschen was thrown from the motorcycle and died a day later at Brackenridge, police said. Neither was wearing a helmet, police said.
No charges were filed in either of the two earlier wrecks.