BROWNSVILLE — It’s been almost a year since Taylor Nicole Ramirez crashed her car into a motorcyclist stopped at an intersection.
Yesterday, a jury found the 24-year-old guilty of intoxication manslaughter for the death of David Salinas.
The jury sentenced her to five years in prison, well below the maximum of 20 years.
Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz was disappointed with the sentence.
“While we commend the jury for doing the right thing in finding Taylor Nicole Ramirez guilty as charged, we are extremely disappointed with their sentence of five years,” Saenz said in a statement.
“I believe it sends the wrong message to the public that juries in Cameron County are not serious about fatalities caused by drunk drivers.”
Ramirez struck Salinas with her car on Loop 499 at Grimes Road in Harlingen on Aug. 30 of last year.
Ramirez was driving a white 2015 Honda Accord when she struck Salinas, 29, as he was stopped at the intersection on his yellow Kawasaki motorcycle.
Police say Ramirez displayed signs of intoxication at the crash scene. After undergoing field sobriety tests, she was arrested and taken to the city jail.
Investigators say she refused to provide a breath sample and was taken to a hospital for a blood test as part of Cameron County’s “No Refusal” policy.
Ramirez initially was charged with a third-degree felony intoxication assault and a Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
The charge was upgraded to second-degree intoxication manslaughter after Salinas’s death.
The crash drew a lot of attention last year once Ramirez’s initial booking mug shot was released of her smiling after the accident.
– Video shows Salinas was stopped at a green light.
– Ramirez tested at 0.24 and Salinas at 0.18 blood alcohol levels.
– The trial revealed the two were in a relationship and had been bar hopping.
– A witness said Ramirez’s emotions went from laughing, to crying and saying nothing.