Motorist guilty in ER doctors death

Jurors opt for lesser offense


After almost a full day of deliberation on Monday, the jury in the manslaughter trial of Philip Smith, 49, returned a verdict of guilty of criminally negligent homicide.

Smith had been indicted on manslaughter charges but the jury was allowed to consider the lesser offense.

Smith was driving on Bandera Road on Jan. 11, 2009, when he struck and killed Dr. Michael Sanchez, 52, who was jogging alongside the road. 

Sanchez, a marathon jogger, was an ER doctor and administrator at University Hospital.

According to testimony,  Smith's SUV was having mechanical problems at the time. 

Prosecutors said that those problems, coupled with the fact that Smith had alcohol and anti-depressants in his system and was using a cell phone caused him to veer from the road and hit Sanchez.

During closing arguments, Smith's attorney, Robert Maurer, said, "There are no signs of any impairment or intoxication and Philip Smith passed every field sobriety test."

Assistant District Attorney Rita Spiegel, told the jury, "Philip Smith chose to gamble and Michael Sanchez lost. This was no accident it was manslaughter."

The punishment phase of Smith's trial begins Tuesday morning in Judge Philip Kazen's 227th District Court.

The punishment range for the jury to consider is from six months to 2 years in state jail.

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