Former probation officer in prison for intoxication assault to be released

A 55-year-old Alamo man convicted of driving drunk and hitting and severely injuring a husband and wife in 2018 will leave prison early.

State district Judge Bobby Flores granted a 10-year term of shock probation for Jaime Ybarra, a former probation officer, who was sentenced to eight years in prison last December after pleading guilty to two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury.

San Juan police arrested Ybarra on May 13, 2018, just after 9 a.m. after the man hit 80-year-old Frank Margo and his wife, 74-year-old Annette Margo, who were riding their bicycles.

Ybarra, who stayed at the scene of the accident, told an officer he exited the expressway and changed lanes to the outside lanes and did not see the couple, who he hit from behind.

“ While making contact with Mr. Ybarra I noticed an odor of alcohol emitting from his breath and person. I also observed Mr. Ybarra to have red bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and was observed to have unsteady balance while standing still,” a San Juan police incident report stated. “I then asked Mr. Ybarra if he had been drinking, to which he advised that he had drank last night and that his last drink had been around 12 midnight.”

The hearing was broadcast on YouTube, but Ybarra was not present because the Texas Department of Criminal Justice notified the parties that Ybarra had tested positive for COVID-19 while serving his prison sentence.

“There’s been a motion to grant shock probation in this case. Two individuals were hurt. I think one of the sons took time away from his job to take care of his parents,” Flores said. “I mean it was tragic. I know Mr. Ybarra was intoxicated. I mean he fessed up to what he did.”

Artemio De La Fuente, Ybarra’s defense attorney, told Flores that even while the case was pending, Ybarra was sorry.

“He would always breakdown and cry at the office. He was already, as of the accident, stopped drinking,” De La Fuente said. “He was already caring for his parents. And when his dad passed he became the guardian of his mother.”

Flores noted that the accident significantly changed the Margos’ lives.

“They were forced to move to Austin so one of their sons could assist them with their injuries,” Flores said. “They were forced out of their retirement and their years of being able to enjoy their retirement.”

The hearing revealed the Margos have incurred $1.5 million in medical bills, which continue to mount.

The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office was opposed to shock probation.

But De La Fuente argued Ybarra had been rehabilitated.

“Since the accident occurred he had not drank,” said Artemio De La Fuente, Ybarra’s attorney, adding that if released from prison, his client wouldn’t drink.

Flores called it a tough case.

“I understand both sides. I understand what is trying to be achieved,” Flores said before granting the motion. “I understand that the $1.5 million will probably never be paid by Mr. Ybarra. I also understand that further imprisonment, for rehabilitation, isn’t really going to help him at all.”

Ybarra will be required to serve 60 more days in county jail once he arrives back here and Flores imposed numerous conditions to the shock probation, including an upfront payment to the Margos of $10,000 and that Ybarra create an organization to help raise money for victims of drunken driving, especially the Margos.