Travis Collins case finally moves forward
By Debby Schamber
For the Record
Travis Obrian Collins, 30, of Orange, entered the plea of guilty Thursday on two counts of intoxication manslaughter before 128th District Court Judge Courtney Arkeen for the May 2015 deaths of Riley and Emily Portie.
Jury selection will begin July 26 and they will determine his fate. Intoxication manslaughter is a second degree felony and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Assistant District Phillip Smith could request the sentence be enhanced by certifying the vehicle as a deadly weapon which could result in a longer prison sentence for Collins.
The charges stem from an incident when officers were called to a wreck scene near the intersections of 12th and Park Streets. When officers arrived they observed a white Dodge 2500 pickup truck on top of a 2011 Harley Davidson motorcycle. The occupants of the motorcycle, Riley Portie, 54, and his 50-year-old wife, Emily, were crushed under the pickup truck. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Skid marks and gouges in the roadway indicated both vehicles were headed west on Park Street at the Rail Road Crossing. The truck collided with the motorcycle on the west side of the crossing and both vehicles came to rest near the 12th Street intersection, according to the probable cause affidavit.
The brother of Travis Collins, Gregory Collins, was a passenger in the pickup truck at the time of the wreck. He reported his brother had been driving “really bad” and leading up to the wreck had ran the nearby stop sign at 10th and Park Streets. He further stated Travis Collins drove over the railroad tracks at a high rate of speed and “jumped” the tracks. In addition, Gregory Collins said his brother was “extremely intoxicated” and had been drinking a large amount of alcohol “all day long,” according to the affidavit.
Travis Collins was taken to a nearby hospital where he was medically cleared. He was then transported to the Orange County Jail and charged.
Getting the case to trial was met some challenges. The trial was scheduled to occur in August 2016, but it was put on hold after Collins competency to stand trial became an issue. According to court documents, Collins was interviewed by psychologist Dr. Ray Coxe. Collins stated he has been married since 2008 and dropped out of school in the ninth or tenth grade. For the past four years he has worked as a box prepper in light industry at a local refinery. He stated he also worked in the fast food industry but was fired because of conflicts with the law.
It was the opinion of the doctor, the results of the evaluation show there was ample clinical evidence to raise a challenge to the defendant’s competence to proceed at that time. However, he also stated the limitation of the evaluation is based solely on the impressions and information presented by Collins and his wife without any school or mental health records to back up their claims.
As a result of the examination, Collins was committed to the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon for observation and/or treatment. Upon further examination, doctors determined he was competent to stand trial.
“My family and I want a fair trial and justice to be served for such a senseless and avoidable incident,” said Kazzie Portie, son of Riley and Emily Portie.