Christopher Maher, Jim Wells County Correspondent
Nearly two years after a single-vehicle accident that left two people dead, a plea agreement has been reached between the driver of the vehicle and the 229th District Attorney's Office.
Priscilla Salinas, 32, was indicted in April 2005 on two counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault with a vehicle, in connection with a February 14, 2005 wreck that left two people dead.
Assistant District Attorney Jon West said Feb. 5 his office had reached a preliminary agreement with Salinas and her attorney, J. Michael Guerra. Under the terms of that agreement, Salinas would plead guilty to both charges of intoxication manslaughter and would waive her right to a jury trial in exchange for a sentence of four years in the Texas Department of Corrections.
The agreement is scheduled to be brought before District Judge Alex Gabert in a March 6 hearing, and the judge will have the option to approve or reject the deal at that time, West said.
According to Department of Public Safety reports, the accident that led to the indictments occurred when a 1997 Ford Explorer driven by Salinas was traveling north on County Road 103 at about 11 miles north of Highway 44 Feb. 14. 2005.
At the time, Salinas told investigators for an unknown reason the right front seat passenger, identified as Gerardo Javier Cruz, 39, from San Diego, grabbed the steering wheel and turned it to the right. The vehicle drove off the east side of the roadway, re-entered the roadway and went into a straight skid.
While in the skid, the vehicle turned back to the right and rolled over on its left side.
Cruz, the only passenger wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene. The rear center passenger, identified as Tonya Rosas, 32, from Alice, was ejected from the vehicle and was also pronounced dead at the scene.
A fourth passenger, Valentin Bueno, 34, was taken to a Corpus Christi hospital with a broken leg. A fifth passenger, Hazel Rios, 10, from Alice was transported to Driscoll Children's Hospital with cuts and bruises.
The indictments indicated Salinas had a blood alcohol reading in excess of the legal limit at the time of the accident.
The agreement reached with prosecutors in the intoxication manslaughter charges will not affect separate charges Salinas faces in Jim Wells County in connection with the alleged May 2006 assault of an Alice police officer, prosecutors said Feb. 5.|