The Police NewsPearland
Drunk woman found guilty in crash that killed Pearland officer
PEARLAND, Texas (KTRK) - A jury on Tuesday
handed down a guilty verdict to a woman accused of killing a Pearland
police officer while she was under the influence.
Police said Amber Willemsen, 40, slammed into Endy Ekpanya's police cruiser on East Broadway Street near Liberty Drive in Pearland in June 2016 while he was on duty.
The driver's side of Ekpanya's car was crushed, and he had to be extracted from the vehicle. Ekpanya died on the way to the hospital.
It was two days before his 31st birthday.
Investigators said evidence showed Willemsen, who sustained minor injuries in the crash, was going at least 67 miles per hour in the wrong lane when she hit Ekpanya head-on.
ORIGINAL REPORT: Pearland officer killed in head-on car crash
At the beginning of the trial, prosecutors said they had video of Willemsen buying vodka on her way to her job at The Ritz, a Houston's gentlemen's club, hours before she hit Ekpanya. They allege more video evidence showed she drank through the night.
According to Harris County court records, Willemsen was out on bond for a May 29 charge for possession of methamphetamine. She received probation in October 2012 for driving while intoxicated.
Clear Creek ISD confirmed Willemsen worked as an assistant principal at Bauerschlag Elementary several years before the crash. A district spokesperson said Willemsen resigned in May 2012 to "take care of family"
Ekpanya left behind a 2-year-old son and a fiancée.
Before the crash, Pearland hadn't had an officer killed in the line of duty in decades.
"Today's verdict is just the next step in the healing process for Endy's family, this department and our community. The effects of that terrible night in 2016 will continue to be felt for years to come. We will not forget Endy as we move forward, but with this verdict we can now continue the long process of healing," Pearland Police Chief J. L. Spires said in a statement, also thanking the first responders, crime scene investigators and prosecutors in Brazoria County who worked the case.