Opening statements were heard today in the trial of Amber Willemsem, the woman accused of driving drunk, killing a Pearland police officer in June 2016.
Williamsem is charged with intoxication manslaughter.
Police say Willemsem slammed into Officer Endy Ekpanya’s police cruiser on East Broadway Street near Liberty Drive in Pearland on July 12 around 3:15 a.m. while he was on duty. Ekpanya died on the way to the hospital. It was two days before his 31st birthday.
Ekpanya’s fiancé and family members sat in the Brazoria County courtroom, listening to witnesses describe seeing or speaking with Ekpanya hours before he died.
The prosecution began with an overview of what the jury, made up of 10 men and four women, would see during the trial. The district attorney said they will provide video of Willemsem buying vodka on her way to her job at “The Ritz,” a Houston’s gentlemen’s club, hours before she hit Ekpanya. More video will show she drank through the night.
Prosecutors say evidence shows Willemsem was going at least 67 miles per hour in the wrong lane when she hit Ekpanya head-on.
Willemsem’s attorney said the mother and former Clear Creek ISD Assistant Principal may have hit rock bottom, but “hitting rock bottom is not a crime.” He looked at jurors and said, “working at a strip club is not a crime.”
The defense argued that video the prosecution plans to show “will not show by reason of intoxication, she killed Officer Ekpanya.”
The Pearland Police Department says they will not be commenting during the trial. The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.