LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A 21-year-old Lufkin woman turned herself into authorities Tuesday afternoon in connection to a Christmas Day hit-and-run accident in which a bicyclist was struck and killed by an automobile on Chestnut Drive.
According to a press release from the Lufkin Police Department, Jennifer Isabel Mireles turned herself in at the Angelina County Jail at approximately 1:45 p.m. Tuesday. She was charged with accident involving death, a second-degree felony.
Cpl. Brad Davis of the Lufkin Police Department's Traffic Safety Section investigated the accident. His investigation revealed that a gray Mazda Protégé driven by Mireles slammed into a bicycle ridden by Alexander Jensen, 22, and fled the scene.
Jensen died at the scene, which was located near Willow Bend Drive at 10:25 p.m.
According to the press release, debris collected at the accident scene identified the suspect as a 2001 to 2003 year model Mazda Protégé. The day after the accident and the release of information concerning the suspect's vehicle, Lufkin attorney Lisa Flournoy called the Lufkin Police Department and said that she had been contacted by the driver of the suspect vehicle.
Flournoy arranged for the driver to be interviewed by Lufkin PD officers.
"During the interview, Ms. Mireles confessed to being the driver of the 2002 Mazda Protégé that struck Alexander Jensen; she stated that she took her attention away from the roadway to look for her wallet and looked back to the roadway as she struck Mr. Alexander's bicycle," the press release stated.
Mireles told police that she was scared, and as a result, she fled the scene. She drove to her home on Lee Avenue.
After Mireles allegedly confessed to being the driver of the vehicle that struck Jensen, the Lufkin Police Department investigated further and confirmed that she was the driver involved in the hit-and-run accident.
According to the crash report, the driver of the car was driving southbound on South Chestnut Drive, while Jensen and his girlfriend were riding bicycles the same direction. The report states Jensen was riding in the outer lane of traffic and did not have lights on the back of his bicycle. His girlfriend was riding right next to the curb and had a red strobe light on the rear of her bicycle.
The driver hit Jensen's bicycle and knocked him approximately 125 feet down the road as he continued to drive. Jensen then hit the sidewalk and the driver kept going down the road.
Joe Cuellar, who lives near Willow Bend Drive, says he heard a bang and then the sound of air being let out of a tire.
"I could see the blinking light through the fence and her bicycle was right in here and apparently there's where the impact was," Cuellar said.
He said he and his son got into their car and drove to the scene.
"I was immediately on the phone with 911 even though I couldn't really see, but I already knew something bad had happened," Cuellar said.
He said Jensen was unresponsive and he wanted to talk to Jensen's girlfriend but she was on the phone with 911.
"I think, you know, you want to help anybody. You want anybody to stop and help. You know as far as I can tell the whole time we were there, there was no cars that had come by and I don't think any had come by since we were out there," Cuellar said.