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Curry v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

May 8, 2018

STEVEN CURRY, Appellant
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 263rd District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 1528845

          Panel consists of Justices Bland, Lloyd, and Caughey.

          OPINION

          JANE BLAND JUSTICE

         A jury found Steven Curry guilty of the felony offense of failure to stop and render aid, and it assessed his punishment at six years' confinement. Curry appeals, contending that (1) the evidence is legally insufficient to support the jury's verdict, and (2) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury as to his mistake-of-fact defense. We affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         This case arises from a fatal hit-and-run accident. Steven Curry was indicted for the felony offense of failure to stop and render aid to bicyclist John Ambrose. See Tex. Transp. Code § 550.021(a), (c)(1). At trial, Curry did not dispute that he struck Ambrose with his truck and failed to stop and render aid. He conceded that Ambrose died as a result of complications arising from the medical treatment required by his injuries.

         Curry, however, contended that he did not know at the time of the collision that he had struck a person who required his assistance.

         J. Saldivar, an officer with the La Porte Police Department, arrived at the accident scene in response to a 911 call. When Saldivar arrived, Ambrose was unresponsive and in dire need of medical attention. Saldivar called emergency medical services personnel to the scene, who in turn summoned Life Flight to transport Ambrose to a hospital.

         Ambrose had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. He remained unresponsive, and he required a ventilator and feeding tube. After his discharge from the hospital, he was placed in a nursing home, where he later died.

         Harris County Precinct 8 deputies investigated the accident due to their expertise in accident reconstruction. They concluded that a vehicle struck Ambrose from behind while he was bicycling in the northbound lane of a two-lane road. They based this conclusion on:

• the direction of the trail of debris in the road, including debris from the bicycle, which was predominantly in the northbound lane;
• the damage to the bicycle's rear tire, which was bent out of shape and had a cracked rim;
• the lack of damage to the bicycle's front wheel;
• gouges or scrapes in the road made when the front wheel of the bicycle detached as a result of the impact and its ...

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