Christopher Maher

Jim Wells County Correspondent

Testimony continued today in the criminal trial of a woman charged with three counts of criminal negligent homicide stemming from a 2006 two-vehicle wreck that left three people dead.

Vanessa Luera Villarreal is charged with three counts of criminal negligent homicide in connection with a July 4, 2006 wreck that occurred on Highway 359 near Orange Grove.

The three people killed in the wreck were Jason Leal, 20, Christina Leal, 18, and Uvaldo Villarreal Jr., 22, all of Mathis.

On Monday, a jury of nine men and three women was selected for the trial, and prosecutor Thomas Turner introduced his first witness, Department of Public Safety Trooper Dionicio Caro.

Initial statements from investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety named Uvaldo Villarreal Jr. as the driver of a 1991 Honda Accord that was traveling south on Highway 359 shortly before 1:30 p.m. July 4, 2006.

Jason and Christina Leal, as well as Vanessa Villarreal, were initially listed as passengers in the vehicle. According to initial reports, the driver of the Accord lost control of the vehicle while passing another car, and went into a skid that threw the Accord into oncoming traffic.

The Accord struck a second vehicle and split in half ejecting all of the occupants.

On Monday, Trooper Caro testified that further investigation revealed that Vanessa Villarreal was the driver of the Accord, not Uvaldo Villarreal, as was originally reported.

Villarreal is represented by Corpus Christi attorney Jo Ellen Hewins.