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Four murder counts in DWI case
San Antonio Express News ^ | 10/20/2010 | By Michelle Mondo - Express-News

Posted on 10/21/2010 6:44:37 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd

A Bexar County grand jury Wednesday returned four murder indictments against Valerie Andrews, 39, accused in August of driving drunk, fleeing police and causing a collision that killed four people.

Andrews was indicted under the “felony murder rule” because at the time of the Aug. 8 crash on the South Side, she was evading police — a felony, a news release from the district attorney's office states.

The rule allows a murder charge to be applied to someone who causes the death of another while committing or trying to commit a felony, the news release said.

In the past two years, at least three motorists in fatal crashes have been convicted of murder under the rule, with two of those involving a police chase, San Antonio Express-News records show.

However, none of those three was alcohol-related, and the mix of alleged intoxication and evading arrest make the case “very unusual,” First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said.

Herberg said prosecutors decided to present to the grand jury the additional murder case that was forwarded to the office by San Antonio detectives.

“You've got four people that were killed,” Herberg said. “This is an egregious crime.”

Maria Aguilar de Perez, 55, and her daughter Marcela Perez, 21, died at the scene of the crash. Marcela Perez's 4-month-old son, Brian Perez, and Marcela's sister Alejandra Perez Aguilar, 15, both died at University Hospital, officials said.

The grand jury returned a total of four indictments that each included single counts of murder, intoxication manslaughter and manslaughter based on recklessness, the news release said.

Andrews has been jailed since the crash in lieu of posting $230,000 bail after being charged with one count of evading arrest and four counts of intoxication manslaughter, according to county records.

Herberg said that because Andrews already was jailed, prosecutors had 90 days to present the case to the grand jury. A murder charge can carry a life sentence while the maximum for intoxication manslaughter is 20 years, Herberg said.

He stressed, however, that intoxication was not an element of the felony murder cases — evading police was.

Calls to the attorney listed for Andrews weren't returned.

Andrews is accused of running a red light at Roosevelt Avenue and Military Drive; then evading arrest after an officer tried to stop her for that offense, records show. She's alleged to have fled in her PT Cruiser west on Lorita Street and reportedly ignored a stop sign at South Flores Street, slamming into the Perez family's Dodge Caravan.

Witnesses said they saw Andrews' vehicle flip into the air after impact and crash upside-down into a TV repair shop. She was treated at a hospital and released into jail custody.

The Caravan was wrapped around a utility pole.

The day after the crash, José Perez, the patriarch of the family who lost his wife, two daughters and one grandson, cried alongside his son, both of whom said they didn't know how to move forward.

“She made a real bad decision,” Perez said then. “If God can forgive her, I can forgive her, too. But it can't bring the family back.”

Records show Andrews was charged in 2003 with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 36 days in jail and a $700 fine.

Herberg said that throughout the state, some prosecutors have tried intoxication manslaughter as murder cases if the driver also was charged with driving while intoxicated-third offense, making that the underlying felony to support the charge.

Melissa Montgomery, manager of victim services for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said she was pleased with the quickly returned indictments and said the additional murder charge was appropriate for the case.

“The message it sends, I hope, is this is very basic. If you are over 21, we're not asking you not to drink; we're just asking you not to get behind a wheel and make yourself a weapon in that vehicle,” Montgomery said.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
This is great. About time drunk drivers get charged with murder when things like this happen.
1 posted on 10/21/2010 6:44:40 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd
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To: Responsibility2nd
This cant possibly be, Ive seen the commercials from the ad council. I know only white males drink and drive
2 posted on 10/21/2010 7:00:38 AM PDT by MSgt Smith
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To: Responsibility2nd

It’s even better, ANYONE who evades police and causes someone else to loose their life - has the rest of their life put in jeopardy.

Only a Libtard would blame the police for chasing a criminal (whether that is a criminal who speeds, or robs a bank). If that criminal decides to flee, he puts every other car on the road at risk - and in the past the Police were blamed for the deaths that resulted.

Is it any surprise that ONCE AGAIN, Texas is showing the USA the way the world ought to be?

3 posted on 10/21/2010 7:02:12 AM PDT by Hodar (Who needs laws .... when this "feels" so right?)
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To: Responsibility2nd

She'd hit it.

4 posted on 10/21/2010 7:02:52 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Lazamataz

You are a bad man.

5 posted on 10/21/2010 7:08:02 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 638 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: null and void
You are a bad man.

6 posted on 10/21/2010 7:53:24 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: Responsibility2nd

We have one going where a drunk killed 4 bikers when the drunk crossed through road dividers (construction on I 29) -drunk drivers do not cause accidents. Driving drunk is a choice the person makes- and the result is not an accident. It is murder.

7 posted on 10/21/2010 8:31:04 AM PDT by handmade
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