Mission man accused in roadside death has case reset - Brownsville Herald: Valley

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Mission man accused in roadside death has case reset

Defendant entered not guilty plea last month

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Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019 7:19 pm

EDINBURG — A Mission man accused of causing the death of another after a night of drinking appeared before a judge Thursday for a pretrial hearing.

Mauro Esparza III, along with his attorney Eric S. Jarvis, appeared for a pretrial hearing related to the charge of accident involving death.

Esparza was most recently in court Nov. 10, for his formal arraignment on the charge, during which he pleaded not guilty to the second-degree felony.

Prior to Esparza entering a formal not guilty plea, the court had granted a bond reduction for the Mission man, who originally had a bond of $250,000.

A Hidalgo County grand jury indicted Esparza earlier this year on Sept. 5 on the charge, in connection with the death of 22-year-old Jesus Zamudio, of McAllen, who authorities said he crashed into and left for dead July 27.

According to the criminal complaint, at about 4 a.m. on the aforementioned date, a Mission police officer found Zamudio’s body “in the grass” near the shoulder of the road in the 900 block of West Interstate 2 in Mission.

Police believe Zamudio was attempting to service his vehicle, which had apparently broken down.

Police said Esparza, after striking Zamudio, drove off without stopping to provide any assistance to the man.

Esparza told authorities that he had been drinking in downtown McAllen with his cousin Ruby Esparza earlier that evening.

The officer noted the victim’s blue Kia Sportage was parked on the “improved shoulder” with damage visible on the vehicle’s left driver-side door and left front fender.

“Debris was found at the scene, that included (a passenger door mirror) which contained a part number,” the record stated.

The part number was tracked, and confirmed to be that of a Ford Mustang model year 2015 to 2019.

Nearly 48 hours later, at about 1 a.m. July 29, Esparza and his cousin, Ruby Esparza, turned themselves in to authorities at the Mission Police Department to report that they were involved in a crash that resulted in damage to a vehicle and Zamudio’s death.

Esparza provided a recorded statement, in which he admitted that after a night of drinking in downtown McAllen, he and his cousin, who was his passenger in the vehicle, were traveling westbound on IH-2 when he crashed with the Kia Sportage, the complaint read.

“(Mauro Esparza) stated he knew he hit a car but was unaware he hit a pedestrian,” the record stated.

Officers noted in the report that Esparza’s Mustang showed damage to the windshield and front-right fender area, which contained blood, strands of hair and other human tissue.

Esparza admitted that after the crash, he didn’t report the incident to police and fled to Mexico.

If convicted of the accident involving death charge, a second-degree felony, Esparza could face between two and 20 years in prison, and up to $10,000 fine.

Esparza, who remains free on a $75,000 bond, is expected back before the court for a subsequent pretrial hearing Dec. 12.

lzazueta@themonitor.com

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