Drunk driver hits and kills Texas deputy on last day of training

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Smith County deputy has died after being struck by a drunk driver Thursday night while performing a traffic stop, according to Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith.

Smith said the deputy, who was identified as Lorenzo Bustos, 29, was with his training officer, Michael Skinner, 39, when the rear of the patrol unit was rear-ended by a 2017 Mercedes on Highway 155 near CR 1237 at a speed moderate while he was standing in the back of the car.

The deputy was “thrown” under the patrol unit, according to Smith, and suffered two serious head injuries to which he succumbed around 6 a.m. Friday morning, surrounded by his family and law enforcement family. .

The patrol had two people in handcuffs in the rear of the traffic stop unit when the accident occurred. The training officer, who was sitting in the front passenger seat at the time, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and called emergency services around midnight, according to the sheriff.

Skinner has since been treated and released, and one of the detainees also received minor injuries for which they were treated.

Bustos had been with the department for about five or six months, and Smith said the department loved him. Thursday night would have been his last night of training, according to the sheriff.

“In his five or six months here, he has become very well liked by his fans, co-workers and he was doing a great job,” Smith said.

Smith said he has spoken with the family of the fallen deputy. Bustos leaves three children aged 8, 5 and 4, as well as a wife.

“Please keep Deputy Bustos’ family in your thoughts and prayers, as well as his extended Blue family,” said Smith County Sgt. Larry Christian said. “Also, please keep Deputy Skinner in your thoughts and prayers. There are no words that can express the outpouring of love and kindness expressed by the citizens of our county, state and nation.”

Daniel Nyenze Nyabuto, 21, of Grand Prairie, was arrested for driving while intoxicated and intoxicated assault, but Smith said there are plans to upgrade those charges to intoxicated manslaughter.

“A DWI will kill someone just as quickly as a gun will,” Smith said. “We’re tough on DWIs in Smith County, DPS is, all local law enforcement is and here’s why.”

Nyabuto was transferred from the Smith County Jail to Gregg County and his bond was set at $750,000.

Funeral arrangements for Bustos have not been set and the body was shipped to Dallas on Friday morning for autopsy. The sheriff said the family will receive a check from the department as they deal with the loss.

Below is a video shared by the Wills Point Police Department that witnessed the escort of the fallen officer.

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