On August 31, 2023, Matthew Smith pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison with an affirmative finding of a deadly weapon for Manslaughter and 15 years in prison for an Accident Involving Death out of the 363rd Judicial District Court. These cases involve the hit-and-run death of Dil Chainy that occurred just after midnight on New Year's Day- January 1, 2022, in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas.
Just after midnight on January 1, 2022, Dil Chainy was standing next to his car on Commerce Street in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas when he was hit and killed by a Ford F150 driven by a white male with a beard who was headed the wrong way on Commerce Street without its headlights on. Several good Samaritans chased after the truck, and one snapped a photograph of the back of the truck and its license plate. The truck belonged to Matthew Smith, and over the course of the next few days, officers with the Dallas Police Department Vehicle Crimes Unit were able to build a case proving that Smith was driving at the time Mr. Chainy was hit and killed. DPD used surveillance video, Mr. Smith’s cell phone records and locations, his vehicle, and even information from Mr. Smith’s truck’s infotainment system put his cell phone in the truck at the time of Mr. Chainy’s death. Mr. Smith was on bond for felony DWI when he killed Mr. Chainy.
These cases were prosecuted by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Unit (“VCU”). The personnel assigned to the VCU have specialized knowledge and training regarding investigating and prosecuting motor vehicle crash cases. The VCU was created to handle the most serious and complicated fatality crash cases – cases like these.
“It’s cases like this for which the VCU was created,” said Dallas County Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot. “I am thankful to have this team of prosecutors with specialized knowledge to ensure we get justice for victims like Mr. Chainy and see to it those who perpetrate these crimes receive sentences that align with their actions.”
Mr. Smith was prosecuted for his pending felony DWI case first. He pleaded guilty to that crime on April 17, 2023, and a hearing was held for the judge to determine what sentence – from probation to 10 years in prison – to impose. At the hearing, VCU prosecutors put on evidence of Mr. Smith’s criminal history from both Texas and Wyoming which includes six prior DWI convictions and multiple convictions for domestic violence, brought in former and current family of Mr. Smith to testify against him, and put on evidence proving that he was responsible for killing Mr. Chainy on January 1, 2022. The VCU prosecutors asked the Judge to sentence Mr. Smith to the maximum of 10 years in prison for that DWI. The Judge sentenced Mr. Smith to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Manslaughter and Accident Involving Death are Second Degree Felonies with a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. This substantial sentence of 15 years from a plea agreement was the result of a combination of the great work by both the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Unit. Mr. Smith will have to serve at least half of his sentences before he is eligible for parole and has waived all appeals for his crimes related to Mr. Chainy’s death.
DA John Creuzot added, “Since 2018, Dallas County has had the highest rate of Fatal Crashes and DWI Fatalities among the largest Texas Counties. In 2020, Dallas had the 2nd highest fatality rate in the Country. While we cannot stop people from committing these truly preventable crimes, we can show them that in Dallas County you will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”