Judge addresses family behavior during intox manslaughter hearings

MGN Online

EDINBURG — State District Judge Keno Vasquez on Wednesday gave a “final warning” to representatives of a man accused of a fatal drunk driving wreck and to representatives of the alleged victims after sheriff’s deputies had to separate the groups following a confrontation earlier this week.

The admonishment came before a hearing about employment for Mitchell Garcia Treviño, who is accused of killing 32-year-old Felipe Huerta Jr., an EMS medic, and 68-year-old Delia Cortines, a patient, who died in the fatal crash on Dec. 16, 2018.

He has entered not guilty pleas to two counts of intoxication manslaughter and to a single count of intoxication assault.

Vasquez was addressing an incident in the courtroom hallway Monday in which someone from Treviño’s family bumped or nudged a stroller, creating two situations which resulted in deputies having to separate the families.

The judge said he didn’t know whether the nudging was intentional or unintentional, but said he knew it happened because his bailiff observed it.

“I’m begging you all to go talk to your families and say ‘Look, let them walk out and then we’ll walk out,’” Vasquez told Treviño, a representative of his family, along with family representing Huerta, Cortinas and Andrea Rodriguez, a medic who survived the crash.

This is the second time Vasquez had admonished someone because of activity in the hallway outside his courtroom during hearings in Treviño’s case.

Last November, the judge admonished Treviño’s aunt for grabbing a victim advocate’s name badge and telling the woman she wanted to know who she was because she was going to get in trouble.

Throughout the proceedings, numerous family members have showed up to the hearings, but because of crowded courtrooms, only a representative from each of the four families has been allowed inside the courtroom while the rest wait in the hallway.

Treviño has been free on $450,000 in bonds since July 2 and has been adhering to all the conditions of his release while his court proceedings play out.

He is accused of crashing his Ford F-250 into a Hidalgo County EMS ambulance in the 1800 block of East Monte Cristo Road after leaving a party where he drank “six to eight Bud Light beers,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

A trial date has not yet been set in the case.

mreagan@themonitor.com