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Longtime Texas Appeals Court justice killed in car wreck

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DALLAS (AP) — A longtime Texas Appeals Court justice was killed in a car crash Saturday night after his vehicle and another were struck by an intoxicated driver, authorities said.


Justice David L. Bridges died at the scene of the crash on Interstate 30 in Royse City after his vehicle and another were struck by another car traveling the wrong way, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Police said the driver of the vehicle traveling the wrong way, 32-year-old Megan Smith of Royse City, was intoxicated and was taken to a hospital for minor injuries. She was later booked into the Hunt County jail on an intoxication manslaughter charge. No bail amount was listed for her in online jail records Sunday afternoon.
Bridges, 65, was elected to the 5th District Court of Appeals in 1996. The Dallas County Republican Party said Sunday it was “heartbroken” by Bridges’ death. The district serves Collin, Dallas, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman and Rockwall counties.
“His life was an example that we should all strive to follow,” County GOP Chairman Rodney Anderson said in a statement.

Justice Douglas Lang, a partner at international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, served for over 16 years on the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas. He was a colleague of Justice Bridges who served with him for 15 years.

“During his 25 years on the bench David shaped a significant part of the chronicle of Texas jurisprudence,” said Lang. “His contribution to the resolution of legal disputes has been invaluable. David’s work as an appellate judge is evidenced by a massive number of written decisions he issued.  Each written decision was produced by his proficiency in the law, careful deliberations, and just plain hard work.  

“Over his long career, Justice Bridges authored or participated in deciding at least 8,000 written case decisions.  If the papers on which those opinions were written were stacked one on top of the other in a pile beside the court house, that stack would ascend at least a story high.  A true mountain of work.  Those papers and those opinions will not be lost.  David’s spirit and work are with us forever,” Lang said. 

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