"She was a cashier. I was a sacker," he said.
In 2017, they found each other again on social media and two years later, they married. They had 15 months of happiness.
"She was the best thing that God could ever give me," said 54-year-old Thomas. "We were meant to be together."
Happiness turned to heartache last October. Thomas and his wife were on their way home from a restaurant when they were involved in a violent crash on N. Shepherd.
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According to the Houston Police Department, 31-year-old Rickey Caballero Jr. was speeding and intoxicated when the SUV he was driving hit the couple's car. Samantha, who was 50 at the time, was killed.
"It took me 30 years to get her and it took a drunk driver seconds to take her from me," he said.
Recently, Thomas has watched more stories of heartbreak. A mother and three children were killed in a fiery crash in March in northwest Harris County.
Last week, a rising teen R&B star died in a wrong-way crash on the Westpark Tollway, and last weekend, a 5-year-old was killed in southwest Houston.
All are believed to have been caused by highly intoxicated drivers. Thomas said he's sick of it.
"It hurt my heart. I said, 'Another good life gone.'" Thomas said exasperated. "These drivers run around and kill people, taking people's family members from them, their loved ones. People mean something to family members. People loved them."
Charges from fatal drunk driving crashes are up in the region. So far this year, the Harris County District Attorney's Office has filed nine intoxication manslaughter charges compared to six during the same time last year.
Caballero is free on a $30,000 bond, but just picked up a second charge related to Thomas' injuries, court records show. Thomas suffered a broken neck and other injuries. Every day is a struggle for him and all because of drunk driving, he said.
"I need some grief counseling because I'm losing it. Some days I don't know whether I'm going or coming," he said. "You drink, please stay home. Don't drive."
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