Harris County mourns deputy’s death; parolee suspect identified in fatal crash

sheriff death

HIGHLANDS, Texas – Tragically, Harris County Sheriff ’s Deputy Jesse Valdez III, 32, became the 40th HCSO employee to die in the line of duty in the 177-year history of the agency.

Valdez, a patrol deputy, died after a vehicle driven by Kelly Jo Ivey, 29, collided head-on with his patrol car the early morning of October 29, 2014.

Ivey was charged later the same day of the tragic accident with possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, as a result of the investigation into the crash. Her initial court appearance was scheduled for last Thursday,

October 30, 2014. Further related charges may be filed later.

Ivey was released from Texas prison on Oct. 2 after serving part of a two-year sentence on a previous, unrelated methamphetamine case.

“We will never forget his service. We will never forget his sacrifice,” Sheriff Adrian Garcia said about Valdez early today at a news conference.

The Sheriff ’s Office, whose five stated core values include “Develop, encourage and care for our Sheriff ’s Office family,” is grieving.

In March, Ivey pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and agreed to the two-year sentence, according to court records. She was released from prison on parole this month, said the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Ivey served time behind bars in two earlier theft cases, according to court records. A judge has declined a bond for her.

The morning of Wednesday, Ocober 29, Valdez was travelling eastbound on East Wallisville Road near the intersection with Honeysuckle Street. A dark colored Ford Explorer SUV travelling westbound on East Wallisville Road, crossed into the eastbound lane of traffic striking the deputy’s marked patrol unit.

Valdez’s vehicle was spun counter clockwise into a roadside drainage ditch, as the Explorer spun into the center of the intersection.

EMS personnel were called to the scene where extraction tools were used to withdraw the deputy from his severely damaged vehicle.

The accident happened near the Highlands Fire Department’s Station #2 on Wallisville, and they were the first units on the scene. Later, Baytown EMS and Fire arrived to help rescue, and stand-by for the helicopter flight.

The deputy was transported via LifeFlight to Memorial Hermann Trauma Center, where he was pronounced deceased at approximately 1:00 a.m.

Ivey was transported by ground to the same hospital. A male, Casey William Byfield, passenger and apparently Ivey’s boyfriend, was cooperative with authorities after the accident. He was treated on scene and release. But he was arrested last Friday, October 31 at 12:30 a.m. in the 700 block of Bright Penny Lane. His charges are unkown.