Man charged for Deep Ellum New Year's Eve crash was out on bond for third DWI
DALLAS - FOX 4 News has learned a man charged with causing a deadly hit-and-run that killed a ride-share driver had previously been charged for DWI three times.
The third charge in 2020 was a felony. He was allowed to post bond, and a device that could have kept him from driving was not ordered until days after the New Year's Eve crash near Deep Ellum.
Matthew Smith has had three DWIs. Now, court records reveal something that should’ve been in place to help prevent this deadly crash wasn’t in place.
Matthew Smith (Photo: Dallas County Jail)
Dallas police say Smith was driving the wrong way on Commerce Street with his truck lights off when he struck and killed 57-year-old ride-share driver Dil Chainy, who was watching New Year’s Eve fireworks.
FOX 4 spoke to Chainy’s daughter, Sharu Bhau, days after the crash.
"He was my best friend. He was truly my best friend," she said.
Police: Dallas hit-and-run victim was watching New Year's Eve fireworks
The truck sped off.
Police arrested Smith nearly two weeks later for manslaughter and accident involving death.
George Milner is a criminal defense attorney not associated with this case.
"Driving the wrong way at night on a major downtown street with your lights off, that’s reckless in my book," he said.
Dil Chainy (Family Photo)
Court records now reveal Smith was out on bond for his third DWI.
"This guy, he’s going to be in trouble," Milner said. "Legally speaking, he’s in a bad, bad situation."
According to an indictment, Smith was convicted of DWI in Dallas County in 2007, a DWI in Wyoming in 2010 and then another DWI in Dallas in 2020. It was a felony charge since it was his third DWI. He was able to post bond.
"I mean it’s a routine condition of bond for felony DWI that they have an interlock device in their car," Milner said.
An interlock device is an in-car breathalyzer which prevents a driver from starting a vehicle until a breath alcohol test is taken.
For Smith though, an interlock device wasn’t issued for about a year and a half after his third DWI arrest. A court records search reveals it wasn’t ordered until five days after the crash that killed Chainey.
"Well, that’s a serious oversight if that occurred," Milner said.
Chainey’s family previously spoke strong words about the driver.
"Driving is not your right. It’s a privilege, so treat it like that," Bhau said. "If you don’t care about yourself, care about other people."
Smith is looking at up to 50 years in prison.