CINCO RANCH, TX– On the dark, fateful early morning of September 28, 2023, one small human error on a poorly-lit street led to a fateful auto-pedestrian accident. The world lost one bright 14-year-old boy, and two local families were shattered.
“Losing a child is devastating and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone,” Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan told reporters at Katy Magazine. “In truth, this has destroyed two families.”
Fort Bend County residents are already familiar with the painful details of this case. The community has mourned the loss of the young teen and laid him to rest. For many, this immeasurable grief will continue for a very long time.
What residents haven’t heard before now is the despair of the 20-year-old driver, Devin Delvalle, who bears the heavy cross of having accidentally taken a young life at the brink of his adulthood. This exclusive Katy Christian Magazine interview reveals Devin’s story, told from the perspective of his loving mother, Aimee Patterson.
Q: Tell us about your son, before this accident. Who is he as a person?
A: “Devin has a big heart; he has since he was a little boy,” his mother said. “He is caring and loves to help people, whether it is helping around the house, cleaning cars, power washing for neighbors in our neighborhood, or putting things together. Devin enjoys doing anything that is hands-on. He has always paid attention to detail while doing so. He is currently in trade school for welding, and through this all, he has pushed through keeping his full time job.”
“When Devin was in high school, he participated in ROTC for four years. He strove to follow in his step dad’s shoes, either by joining the military, like his stepdad, who is a veteran, or possibly by joining the police force,” Patterson said.
“The master sergeant at Bush High School, where Devin attended all four years, reached out to him after hearing about the tragic accident. Devin visited him and other teachers and students at the school last week. Devin never got into trouble at school; he was a good student.”
Q: When and how did you first learn about what had happened?
A: “On September 28, 2023, Devin was on his way to pick his girlfriend up from her house and take her to school at Cinco High. My husband got a phone call from a supervisor at the Fort Bend Constables Office at about 6:54 a.m.,” she said.
“The supervisor told my husband that our son was involved in a tragic accident with a bicyclist. My husband could barely comprehend and get words out of his mouth in response to what he was told. We immediately got dressed and headed there.”
“When we arrived, we were told that Devin was fully cooperative, stayed on the scene, and called 911 immediately. They did a field sobriety test, which Devin passed. We were later told by Devin that there was a lady who heard [the accident] but didn’t see [it], and she was there with Devin consoling him. Devin was in complete anguish,” Patterson continued.
“From the scene of the accident, a deputy gave Devin an option to go to the hospital to voluntarily give blood, which Devin fully cooperated with. Devin was later brought home by the same deputy after leaving the hospital. He was very pale, shaking and crying, and in a state of shock. We were consoling him and were very emotional.”
“He told us that he was in complete shock at the time of the accident, and [that at the time], he couldn’t even remember where he was or how to tell the dispatcher his location. He had to call out to someone who was walking by and ask them,” she said.
Q: Please walk us through the specifics of the investigation the police conducted, your son’s arrest and the legal troubles he is currently facing.
A: “Thirty minutes or so later, there was a knock at the door. It was the same officer, along with another officer, and they stated they were ‘ordered’ by the Sheriff to take Devin into custody. My husband asked them [to provide] a warrant to do so, and they repeated that it was an order by the Sheriff. The investigation wasn’t even completed, and they didn’t read Devin his Miranda Rights. We were in complete shock,” Patterson revealed.
“Devin was taken to the FBCSO, and he was released the following day [because there was] not enough probable cause. Upon his release, when we were on our way to get Devin, we got a call saying the DA or prosecutor went to a different judge, and that judge issued a warrant and a bond of $100,000. Devin was then rearrested and placed back into custody.”
“Then, on the evening of September 29, 2023, we went and bonded Devin out. Devin is currently on bond with extreme restrictions. He could be facing third-degree felony charges. They took away his driving privileges, other than driving a golf cart for his job,” she explained.
Q: How is your family navigating this incredibly difficult time? How can a parent support their child in the wake of such a tragedy?
A: “Our family is often in despair. Our family and friends are devastated, and heartbroken for all involved. Lives are forever changed; we are all spending a lot of time in prayer. Our hearts are heavy and we cling to our faith that there will be and must be better days ahead.”
“On the night of September 29, 2023, we as a family watched the 10 o’clock news. We saw the segment in which they had Devins picture and they talked about the accident. It was very difficult to watch,” she disclosed.
Q: Do you have any comments about the lights/lighting by the bridge where the accident occurred? Concerned citizens point to poor lighting conditions as a contributing cause, once labeling it a “disaster waiting to happen.”
A: “The crosswalk light, or button, was not working at the time, which was also shown by a news anchor. There is a concrete wall and landscaping on both sides of the bridge on Mason Road, which severely obstruct your view,” Patterson described.
“There must be fully operating lights at all times and better visibility, and they need to reconstruct or omit that area as a crosswalk altogether,” she pleaded.
“It wasn’t well-lit and had faulty crosswalk light and button functioning. The [county] needs to do better and make it safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Signage in that area is very confusing, and [the area must provide more clarity] on what is to be done for all. They had even more signage added the following day, which made it even more confusing!”
The following images are photos of where the accident occurred, on Mason Road heading North toward the bridge, on the first portion of the crosswalk. Prior to the accident, there were lights at the site, but they were not working and were malfunctioning on the morning of the accident. The signage from this day commanded pedestrians to “yield.”
Additionally, Sheriff Eric Fagen claimed this area was a school zone. However, it was not an active school zone at the time of the accident.
The following images were obtained after the accident. They depict new signage at the start of the bridge heading North, and new signage at the end of the bridge heading North. The original signs called for pedestrians to “yield,” and the new signs calls for them to “stop.” Many believe the city indirectly admitted guilt by installing these signs following the fatality.
A Note from Katy Christian Magazine:
To prevent future tragedies, please note that if you are operating a vehicle and you see someone in the crosswalk, you are to stop. If you are a pedestrian or a bicyclist, and you see a vehicle approaching, you are to stop. All parties must practice vigilance to the best of their abilities in order to avoid unnecessary harm.
This accident was heartbreaking and horrible, but it was an accident. Neither party saw the other; if they had, perhaps events would have unfolded differently. We must clarify that we say this neither to cast blame upon the 14-year-old boy nor the 20-year-old driver. Both boys were good people, deserving of full lives and happiness, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, approaching confusing signage and malfunctioning lights in the dark of the early morning.
We urge our readers to do their best to practice precautionary measures under all road conditions in order to minimize the chances of this event ever repeating itself.
“Our son didn’t see Logan. If he had, he would have stopped,” Patterson said.
Q: Is there anything that the public can do to help your family?
A: “Please continue to pray for all involved,” Patterson tearfully requested. “Our son is devastated. Devin has been having a very hard time and has been seeing a therapist. He barely eats, has lost weight, and is having a very difficult time as he tries to work through his grief and shock from the accident. He has been doing a lot of fishing and trying to find some peace throughout this tragic accident.”
“We are all heartbroken. Our desire is to link arms with the community as we strive to heal and work on traffic control measures that save lives for years to come.”