Driver charged in death of 21-year-old woman

BROWNSVILLE — A San Benito man faces charges linked to a crash that killed a 21-year-old woman and left three passengers injured in a mud pit near the banks of the Rio Grande.

Martin Zamorano, 23, is charged with intoxication manslaughter in the July 27 death of Emma Ybarra, a second-degree felony for which he faces two to 20 years in prison, Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said yesterday.

Lucio said Zamorano is also charged with three counts of intoxication assault with a vehicle stemming from injures to three male passengers.

Zamorano’s Ford F-150 pickup truck plunged into a mud pit north of the Rancho Grande subdivision off U.S. 281 near La Paloma at about 2:56 a.m. July 27, killing Ybarra, who was traveling in the back seat when she was ejected, Lucio said.

The crash left Zamorano’s three male passengers hospitalized in critical condition, Chief Deputy Gus Reyna said at the time.

“They had been drinking and he was driving too fast,” Lucio said, describing the mud pits excavated about 15 years ago, apparently to run mud races.

“It’s at night and you don’t see the hole,” Lucio said. “It’s seven to eight feet deep when you hit.”