LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After deliberating a little more than five hours, an Angelina County jury sentenced a 22-year old Lufkin woman who fled the scene after she hit and killed a bicyclist on Christmas Day to 10 years of probation.
Jennifer Isabel Mireles pleaded guilty to a felony accident causing death charge shortly before her jury trial was scheduled to start Tuesday morning. The sentencing phase of the trial is being held in Judge Paul White's 159th Judicial District.
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.
District Attorney Art Bauereiss said that he feels that the jury knows what they want to do in this case. He asked the jurors to remember that victim as a young father who was going to Angelina College to get an education and try to be a better father for her son.
Lisa Flournoy, Mireles' defense attorney, made her closing statements next.
“You hold her life in your hands,” Flournoy said.
Flournoy told the jurors that everyone makes bad choices and that Mireles took the first step by coming forward and taking responsibility for her actions.
“We have no evidence that she was texting,” Flournoy said.
The defense attorney argued that the father of Mireles' child is claiming that she was texting because he wants to win custody of the child.
Flournoy told the jurors that Lufkin Police even said they did not think she was speeding. She also said that Lufkin Police investigators said that stretch of chestnut is dangerous for bike riders.
In addition, there was no evidence that alcohol played a factor in the accident, Flournoy said.
"Her crime and what she pled guilty to is not causing the wreck, but leaving the scene,” Flournoy said. “Probation is not easy. Your freedom is restricted. If she messes up, she could go to prison. Don't take her from her son. Give her another chance."
Bauereiss addressed the jury one last time before they started deliberating Mireles' sentence.
"She did not take his dignity seriously," Bauereiss said. "She thinks she gets to do what she wants, when she wants."
Baueriss said she has caused a lot of un-needed stress.
"All these people were called out to the scene and had to try to track her down,” Bauereiss said. “She could have ended this and stayed at the scene and turned herself in."
Baueriss said if the jury gives her probation that he believes she will mess up again and that it will not be the answer.
The jury was released at 9:30 a.m. deliberation.