A Harlingen man who struck and killed a pedestrian in a 2018 hit-and-run accident was sentenced to four years in prison in Brownsville on Thursday.
Michael Rincones, 29, was charged with one count of accident involving death in an indictment handed down by a grand jury in October. He was accused of driving the vehicle that struck Adrian Jimenez, 20, on the 400 block of W. Taft Avenue in Harlingen on July 21, 2018.
Jimenez’s family members gave testimony prior to sentencing. Judge Arturo Cisneros Nelson for the 138th state District Court heard from Jimenez’s mother, sister, and the mother of Jimenez’s 4-year-old child, who told the court she found out about the death via social media.
Rincones briefly addressed the group of over a dozen friends and family members present in the courtroom wearing t-shirts bearing Jimenez’s photograph. He apologized for his actions.
Nelson sentenced Rincones to four years in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “What bothers me more than anything is that if he had stopped, Adrian could have lived. I’m going to adjudicate you guilty,” he said.
Supplements filed by investigating officers stated that investigators obtained video surveillance of the accident from a nearby residence. Through footage and tips, they were eventually able to identify and locate Rincones as a suspect following an interview with his sister.
The document stated that during the interview, Rincones arrived at the police station, agreed to speak to police without an attorney, and confessed to his involvement in the hit-and-run. Rincones “immediately confessed to being involved in the accident”, the document stated.
According to the summary, Rincones told officers that he left his home around 2 a.m. on the night the accident occurred to buy cigarettes at a Stripes store. Rincones said he was driving on the 400 block of W. Taft Avenue when “something ran in front of his truck and he couldn’t stop in time and struck it.”
Rincones told investigators he first thought he hit a dog, but when he turned around and saw that it was not a dog but a man, he panicked and fled the scene, investigators wrote.
According to the document, Rincones said he told his parents he was involved in an accident and needed somewhere to take his truck, then took the truck to his father’s ex-wife’s house. Photos included in the case file show the truck sitting covered in a driveway.