On Tuesday, Oct. 1, a jury of eight women and four men recommended probation in the punishment trial of Raul Jimenez (23), who pleaded guilty to the second-degree felony offense of leaving the scene of an accident involving death. Jimenez was represented by Stephenville attorney Shay Isham. The jury deliberated just over five hours to come back with its sentence of ten years in prison and a $5,000 fine, with both the incarceration and fine probated. Implementing the jury’s verdict, the District Court imposed ten years of probation and required the defendant to serve 120 days in the County Jail as a condition of probation.
On the night of Oct. 18, 2018, Isabel Macias was found fatally injured in the lane of travel of Highway 219 just outside Dublin. Macias had been walking toward her home in Dublin from a social gathering in La Sombra Estates. Macias had been talking on the phone with her husband, Oscar Ruiz. Ruiz was walking to meet Macias and observed a dark SUV driving in the direction of Macias’ location. The SUV stopped briefly, then sped away. A few minutes later, Ruiz walked upon Macias lying in the road, bleeding from a severe head injury.
Officers of the Dublin Police Department, Erath County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Public Safety responded, and discovered a piece of a license plate frame and shattered automotive glass next to Macias on the road. The license plate bracket was then linked to a dark blue Chevrolet Tahoe which had been operated by Jimenez. Three hours after Macias was struck, law enforcement tracked down Jimenez and interviewed him.
Jimenez admitted to borrowing the Tahoe to drive into Dublin to purchase beer, and that on his way home he saw “a girl”, stopped, and backed into what he claimed to believe was a sign. He no longer saw the girl, became “scared” and drove away. Law enforcement obtained a warrant for Jimenez’s blood. Forensic analysis showed that, five hours after Macias was found in the road, Jimenez’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.039, just under half the .08 which defines intoxication under Texas law.
A person who is involved in an accident which results in death commits a felony carrying up to twenty years in prison if he or she leaves without providing reasonable aid and waiting at the scene to provide documentation of registration, insurance, and license status. The punishment for leaving the scene mirrors that imposed for manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter.
District Attorney Alan Nash encouraged the jury to impose a severe punishment because Jimenez failed to help his victim, left her lying alone bleeding in the lane of traffic on a dark road, and deprived first responders the ability to determine for sure how Macias was killed.
Nash reminded the jury that, “In Erath County, we are secure in our homes, schools, and workplaces. What we do fear is driving our children and grandchildren on roads and highways with people like this unlicensed defendant downing 16-ounce beers and running people over.”
In Texas, a person convicted of a felony has the right to have a jury decide his punishment. The defendant’s attorney, Shay Isham, effectively brought focus to the defendant’s youth, lack of criminal history, and lack of malice in his conduct. As District Attorney, I appreciate and respect the time and care the jury took in hearing and deliberating this case.