LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - During the second day of testimony in the sentencing of a 22-year-old Lufkin woman who pleaded guilty in the fatal hit-and-run death of a bicyclist on Christmas Day 2013, the victim's mother said her son, an aspiring inventor, was "just starting to get things together."
The jury is now hearing testimony before they deliberate Jennifer Isabel Mireles' sentence. The sentencing phase of the trial is being held in the Judge Paul White's 159th Judicial District. Jennifer Mireles pleaded guilty to a felony accident involving death charge.
A Lufkin Police investigation revealed that Jennifer Mireles was driving a gray Mazda Protégé on Chestnut Street when she slammed into a bicycle ridden by Alexander Jensen, 22, and fled the scene.
Jensen died at the scene of the accident that night. Jennifer Mireles turned herself into authorities a few days later.
Dr. Rima Kittley, Jenson's mother, said she went to see the car that had killed her son while it was in police custody. She told the jury that the windshield was smashed in and she just "envisioned him being quashed like a bug on a windshield."
Kittley said that her son loved his girlfriend, Alison McCreary, "very, very much" and said she actually found Internet searches on his computer that he was looking for rings for McCreary.
"How can you describe the indescribable pain of losing a child?" Kittley said. "I feel like I'm not the same person. We're all going on with our lives but it has been hard with bringing all this up."
Kittley said her son's loss was a huge loss and that he loved his father.
"He was just starting to get things together. Kids take a while to grow up. He was an inventor," Kittley said He wanted to invent things. He had great plans."
Flournoy asked Kittley if she had received and read a letter Mireles had written her.
"It felt empty. I didn't feel like she had owned up to what she had done," Kittley said.
Then the state rested its case.
Next, the defense called Gene Yates, an instructor at Angelina College, to the stand. He described Jennifer Mireles as someone who took responsibility for things that went wrong in class.
When the state asked Yates if he felt it was irresponsible to drive without a license, he said yes. Under further cross examination, Yates agreed with the prosecutor that it is irresponsible to drive without proper insurance and leave the scene of an accident when the law dictates that you should stay.
The defense later called Mireles' brother, Mario Mireles, as their second witness. He said he was devastated when he heard what had happened. He said he is worried about his sister and her well-being.
Mario Mireles described Jennifer Mireles as a great mother who is the primary caretaker for her young son. He also told the jury that he had talks with his sister about taking responsibility.
Mario Mireles said he has had talks with Jennifer Mireles about taking responsibility.
Rosario Mireles, Jennifer Mireles' mother, also took the stand.
Her mother told the jurors that her daughter said she was going to meet a friend for dinner. She was at home when Mireles came back to the house after the accident. Rosario Mireles said she found out about the accident from her older daughter. She said she went with her older daughter to the scene to see what had happened and that's how she learned that someone had died. Rosario Mireles said Jennifer was crying and shaking. Rosario Mireles said she knew that her daughter should have stayed, but she was just a young girl.
Rosario Mireles said they decided to go to talk to an attorney before going to the police because they were scared. Rosario Mireles she is very scared for Jennifer's son if she has to go to jail. Rosario Mireles said since the accident Jennifer Mireles goes nowhere but to school and work and takes care of her son.
On cross examination District Attorney Art Bauereiss asked if any of the tears she was crying in court today were for Jensen and she said she is crying for both because he is in heaven, and her daughter is here on Earth.
Rosario Mireles said if someone in her family was involved in a car accident she would put herself in that person's place. She said if that would have been her who had been in that accident instead of her daughter, she would have run to her husband to ask for help.
Mireles could be seen wiping tears from her eyes when her family is on the stand.