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Houston police will charge driver in car accident that killed 5 children

Police in Houston plan to charge a driver suspected of being intoxicated Saturday when he lost control of his car, which then plunged into a rain-filled ditch, killing five young passengers — including four of his own children.

Police in Houston plan to charge a driver suspected of being intoxicated when he lost control of his car, which then plunged into a rain-filled ditch, killing five young passengers — including four of his own children.

Three counts of intoxication manslaughter are being prepared against Chanton Jenkins, 32, who failed a field sobriety test after the Saturday accident, Houston police spokesman Kese Smith said. The accident happened during torrential rain storms in southeast Texas.

Rescue workers found the car in a ditch at 7:30 p.m. Saturday about 30 metres from where Jenkins lost control two hours earlier, Houston assistant fire chief Omero Longoria told the Houston Chronicle newspaper.

Jenkins, his brother and a 10-year-old girl managed to escape, but rescuers couldn't get to five children because the ditch was filled with nearly three metres of water.

The bodies of three boys, ages 4, 7 and 11,  were found later inside the vehicle, a Lincoln sedan. Two girls, ages 1 and 3, were missing, but police said Sunday that the body of the one-year-old had been found. The fifth child who died belonged to a family friend, police said.

Jenkins's brother told police Jenkins was the father of four of the five children who died and that rain was falling heavily when Jenkins answered a cellphone. He told officers that Jenkins lost control when he hung up the phone and the car flew down an embankment into the ditch, Smith said.

There was another death Saturday related to the massive storms that swept across southeast Texas. A 76-year-old Fayette County man died after his car got stuck in a flooded underpass.

Nearly 127 millimetres of rain had fallen at Houston's Hobby Airport by 5 p.m. Saturday.

With files from The Associated Press