Underage drinker accused in fatal hit-and-run arraigned

MGN Online

EDINBURG — A 20-year-old Mission man who paid a nightclub $40 for a night of underage drinking in downtown McAllen that ended with accusations he fatally hit and killed a pedestrian entered not guilty pleas Wednesday morning.

Jorge Luis Garcia is charged with intoxication manslaughter and accident involving death.

He’s accused of killing 38-year-old Harlingen resident Marco Antonio Ortiz shortly before 2 a.m. on April 13 as the man was crossing South Bicentennial Boulevard and Beaumont Avenue.

Charging documents indicate that Ortiz was walking with his sister and a friend when a red Chevrolet pickup truck “traveling at a high rate of speed” hit him.

Garcia initially ran, but police arrested him minutes later after spotting the truck traveling west on Expressway 83 Frontage Road near the Palms Crossing shopping center.

Police said in a charging document that Garcia was unsteady, slurred his speech, had red eyes and smelled of alcohol. Authorities also reported seeing damage to the front of his truck.

Garcia later told police he paid an Elevate Nightclub employee $40 to allow him to drink and that “he had drank a whole bottle of Buchanan’s (whiskey) mixed with RedBull.”

He remains free on $75,000 in bonds.

mreagan@themonitor.com