Jury selection to begin in drunk driving case that killed a police officer

Published 11:54 am Monday, July 18, 2022

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BEAUMONT — Jury selection begins Tuesday for a Port Arthur man accused of operating a vehicle during a drunken driving crash that lead to the death of a Beaumont police officer.

Luis Torres, 20, will stand trial in Judge John Stevens’ criminal district court.

Torres, who previously pleaded guilty to an intoxication manslaughter charge in which Beaumont Police Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell was killed, withdrew his guilty plea May 23.

The intoxication manslaughter charge carries a punishment of probation, 5 to 99 years in jail, or life and a fine up to $10,000.

On Aug. 9, 2020, 23-year-old Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell and then 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.