Trial begins next week for Port Arthur man accused in wreck that killed Beaumont officer

Published 12:40 am Saturday, April 16, 2022

A Port Arthur man accused of driving while intoxicated before causing a crash that killed one Beaumont police officer and injuring another is set to appear in court next week.

Jury selection is expected to begin Tuesday for Luis Torres on a charge of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault. The trial will be in Judge John Stevens’ Criminal District Court.

Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham said Torres was intoxicated while driving the wrong way on a divided highway when the crash happened in 2020.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The vehicles met at the top of the overpass and likely didn’t see each other until it was too late, he said.

On Aug. 9, 2020, 23-year-old Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell and 28-year-old Officer Gabriel Fells were traveling northbound on Cardinal Drive near the Texas 347 overpass when a wrong way driver not using headlights struck them head-on.

Fells was taken to a hospital for severe injuries, underwent surgery and was released.

Yarbrough-Powell died at the scene.

Police said Torres was driving without a license and was believed to be highly intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of .296.

Thomas Burbank is representing Torres. The lead prosecutor is Pat Knauth.

Torres remains in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on $750,000 in bonds.