James John Onak, Driver: What Dead Guy in My Front Passenger Seat, Officer?

Categories: Crime

jamesonak.jpg
HPD
James Onak: Oh, THAT bleeding corpse?
When a cop pulls you over because your windshield is shattered, your front end is crumpled and -- as he points out to you -- you seem to have a dead person sitting next to you in the front seat, what are your options?

a) Ask "What seems to be the problem, officer?"
b) Start madly spinning a tale of escaping an Uzi ambush and trying to find a hospital to take your wounded friend to
c) Admit that yeah, you hit something on the highway a couple of minutes ago, but say you were unaware there was a dead body sitting next to you.

James John Onak, 49, took the third option this morning and now faces criminal charges. "Onak was believed to be under the influence," HPD says, stunningly.

He's facing a felony charge of failure to stop and render aid and a misdemeanor charge of tampering with evidence. A blood test was taken, and further charges may come from it, HPD says. (Update: They've added a DWI charge and felony accident involving injury.)

Police say Onak was driving his Mazda 626 on the Gulf Freeway about 12:30 a.m. when he hit a man who had stopped when his car broke down and was "running back and forth across the freeway." The name of the 32-year-old male victim has not been released.

Onak continued driving until he was pulled over about three miles later by a deputy constable at Beamer Road at Kirkvalley.

"According to the deputy, the Mazda had extensive front-end damage and he observed the deceased victim in the front passenger seat," HPD says. "The driver advised the deputy that he had hit something on the freeway but was not aware the victim was lying in the passenger seat."

Yeah, he might have been under the influence.


Tags:

DUI

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12 comments
Knycole Mars
Knycole Mars

The guy that died is my co-worker's nephew, so it hits home a little. I understand people make jokes to try to cope with the REAL. So it's all good. Now, what many of you may not know is that  Mr. Onak stopped and bought an Icee after the accident. Most alcholics don't stop for a sweet treat. They should test him for prescribed sleeping medication as well.  There have been a plethera of accidents including my father-in-law who took Ambian with a few drinks and went to bed. Sleepwalking in an Ambian Zone, he got in his car and drove to work.  He had no idea of what happened until the police woke him, because they saw a a car in the empty parking lot.

HoustonGuy
HoustonGuy

Village Voice Media, Houston Press: "What child prostitutes in my classifieds and what about getting facts straight?"

Incensed_at_insensitivity
Incensed_at_insensitivity

He wasn't in the seat, he was crumpled in the floor board, after midnight.  He didn't drive 3 miles, it was two.  There was no exit immediately off the freeway where the accident occurred. At least get the facts straight.

all other commenters: a man died and his family is suffering.  Another man destroyed a family of 5, this is funny to you?

Mark
Mark

It was the only way that they would let me on the HOV lane....

Scott
Scott

Yeah, I picked up the hitch hiker, I just didn't stop. 

Friogal
Friogal

Really? You are defending this? Really? Floorboard, window, frontseat, no matter the location. I think hitting a person AND him/her ending up in the car with you is something most people would notice AND would stop immediately to call for help!!!!! No need for an exit, dude could have just stopped right where the accident occurred and dialed 911...how hard would that have been?

unbelieveable_wow
unbelieveable_wow

nope, not defending him, just more interested in facts than in sensationalized news.  It's not as if the guy was sitting up talking in the passenger's seat.  If you have ever hit anything with a car you would know how disorienting that can be; add a little alcohol and a dimly lit freeway and I can almost see how it might happen.  I hit a car back in Feb. and I still can't tell you what happened in the seconds before and after I hit them, it was only minor damage, this was a major accident.  He was questioned 10 minutes later...

unbelieveable_wow
unbelieveable_wow

Both of you should be ashamed.  Two families are destroyed.  This is funny to you?

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