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Driver gets no jail time in 2018 death of Marble Falls physician

Cameron O'Connell

Cameron O’Connell, 32, was sentenced to three years' deferred adjudication for causing a collision that killed Dr. Michael Babineaux. Courtesy photo

A Travis County district judge sentenced the driver of a car who killed a 32-year-old Marble Falls physician to three years deferred adjudication.

On Nov. 5, Cameron O’Connell, 32, entered a guilty plea to criminal negligent homicide in Travis County District Judge Dayna Blazey’s courtroom. The judge set Dec. 10 as the sentencing date. O’Connell’s attorney asked the court to consider deferred adjudication, a type of community supervision in which a person does not get a conviction on their record if they follow all court-mandated rules. 

“It’s a total injustice,” said a spokesperson for Michael Babineaux’s family. “There was no value for a human life — Michael’s life — in the deal.”

O’Connell initially faced a felony manslaughter charge, but the Travis County District Attorney’s Office reduced the charge to criminal negligent homicide. Manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. Criminal negligent homicide is a state jail felony with a maximum punishment of up to two years in jail.

Babineaux’s family was dismayed by the district attorney’s office agreeing to the plea of a lesser charge and angry about the final sentencing.

“This guy gets a slap on the wrist for killing Michael,” the spokesperson stated. “Basically, the court and district attorney just gave him back his keys and let him back out there on the roads.”

Dr. Michael Babineaux
Dr. Michael Babineaux, a husband and father of three, died in a two-vehicle collision in October 2018. The man driving the car who caused his death was sentenced to deferred adjudication on Dec. 10, 2021. Photo courtesy of the Babineaux family

O’Connell was driving a Nissan Titan pickup truck on Oct. 29, 2018, in Lakeway when witnesses told an investigating Texas Department of Public Safety trooper that the man attempted to pass a white SUV in the center turn lane. O’Connell lost control of his vehicle and crossed into oncoming traffic, striking Babineaux’s vehicle.

Babineaux, a physician with Baylor Scott & White Specialty Clinic-Marble Falls, died at the scene. He left behind a wife and three children — one of which was born just days after his death. 

Witnesses told the investigating trooper that O’Connell was tailgating the white SUV at an unsafe distance and tried to pass in the turn lane at a high rate of speed.

Initially, the trooper charged O’Connell with manslaughter, noting in an arrest warrant affidavit that he attempted to pass a vehicle in a clearly designated no-passing area at a high rate of speed. A Travis County grand jury even indicted O’Connell on the manslaughter charge.

The Babineaux family believes the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, led by District Attorney José Garza, let them and the community down. 

“The safety of the community is not the district attorney’s priority,” the spokesperson stated. “A man’s life was taken, and the person responsible won’t spend a day in prison. Yet we’re left with a lifetime of pain and suffering with the loss of Micheal.”

The Travis County District Attorney’s Office did not respond with a comment on this case.

13 thoughts on “Driver gets no jail time in 2018 death of Marble Falls physician

  1. The Travis County Da is a farce!! The worst is yet to come~

  2. I’m not surprised. The driver that caused the wreck that killed my dad only got 2 tickets. She was texting and driving. Travis county seems to only be concerned with the “newsworthy” cases.

  3. This is truly horrible to see. I was Dr.B’s last patient that day. No prison time?
    Are you kidding me? This is Texas and we give this guy no prison, while he is
    passing in middle lane going nuts. That is flat out murder. The DA should be disgusted
    with himself and voted out. Any country would have him in jail for 10 years minimum or life.
    He will eventually doom himself again, what a tragedy on all levels. Condolences to the Babineaux Family.
    He was a great doctor.

  4. This DA has shown me nothing. This is a travesty for the family and for a man who lost his life over another man’s foolishness. We need a new DA.

  5. Dr. Babineaux was one of the nicest, most knowledgeable physicians in the Marble Falls area. I cannot believe there were no conquences for the person who broke the law and caused the death of this doctor who spent his short life saving other people’s lives. This lawbreaker will have to explain his actions to God one day. How can he possibly justify his actions to his maker. Dr Babineaux never got to see his third child. Mrs Babineaux has a big responsibility raising three kids without their father because of your negligence. Mr 0’Connell, you will never be a candidate for Heaven. Tread softly!!!! RIP Dr Babineaux you have faced your maker. I’m sure he said to you. “Well done good and faithful servant.”

  6. this makes me sick to my stomach – horrible, just horrible

    my heart breaks for the dr’s family

  7. That is unbelievably unfair to the family of the deceased physician. Yesterday, I was witness to a very similar incident where a white pickup going way over the speed limit on hwy 71 towards Llano decided to pass me and 3 other cars and came a hairs breath from having a head on collision with a semi truck. If we all had not pulled to the right, (including the semi truck driver) it would have been death all around. I have no sympathy for that driver. Only contempt. I cannot understand why O’Connell got off so lightly.

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