WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas - A man is in custody after police said he struck a pedestrian Saturday night and then drove to a White Settlement restaurant parking lot with the dead pedestrian in his passenger seat after the body went through the front windshield.
Police began investigating after getting a welfare check call just after 11 p.m. An officer arrived at a Jack in the Box parking lot and found a gray Kia Forte with front end, hood, and windshield damage.
"The call was simply, ‘Hey, there looks like a crashed car and the driver is slumped over the wheel,’" White Settlement Police Chief Christopher Cook said.
The responding officer also saw what appeared to be a dead body in the passenger seat.
The driver, later identified as Nestor Joel Lujan Flores, was detained after police realized he was impaired.
First responders found that the person in the passenger seat was dead. The victim's name has not yet been released.
Flores reportedly told police he thought he had struck an animal in Dallas and drove to the restaurant parking lot. Police said he never called authorities.
Multiple agencies were contacted to see if they had any information about the crash, but no area agencies had reported a hit-and-run or pedestrian crash.
"A little bit of confusion at the scene. He didn’t realize where he was at and thinks he struck an animal, and in reality, we know now it was a pedestrian," Cook said.
Dallas County Sheriff’s Office deputies later found human body parts at I-30 and Cockrell Hill Road.
Investigators believe this is where the crash happened, and the impact forced the victim into the passenger seat.
It’s believed Flores then drove 40 miles to the restaurant parking lot with the man’s body inside the car.
"Reviewing video, he actually pulled into the parking lot around 8 p.m., so that means he had stayed at our Jack in the Box for three hours and 13 minutes before we get our first call," Cook said.
Police have some idea of his movements before the crash.
A Flock camera shows Flores in his car, and it was not wrecked, at 6 p.m. at the intersection of East Mayfield and New York Avenue in Arlington.
"So from 6:01 p.m., we believe he drove into Dallas County, was likely involved in a collision at I-30, Cockrell Hill, and then gets in our city around 8 o’clock," Cook explained.
According to police records, in 2021, Flores was arrested and convicted of driving while intoxicated in Collin County.
Cook said, in his two decades of policing, he’s never seen a case like this.
"These types of case are very frustrating to our team because, not only is it dramatic to see the trauma to a human body like this, but we know these things are avoidable," he added.
Flores is still being held at the White Settlement jail until charges are filed in Dallas County, since that is where it’s believed the initial crash happened.