BEAUMONT, Texas (KTRE) - A federal grand jury has indicted a Mexican citizen who was convicted of intoxicated manslaughter in 2017 for a fatal wreck near Diboll on an immigration charge.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas, Vicente Gonzalez-Rico was indicted Wednesday on a federal unlawful reentry of a deported alien charge.
Documents filed in court showed that Gonzalez-Rico was arrested for intoxicated manslaughter on Jan. 26, 2017, in connection with an incident that occurred on May 30, 2009.
While processing the defendant, it was discovered that he had previously been deported from the United States in 2005,” the press release stated. “Gonzalez-Rico was convicted of three counts of intoxication manslaughter in state district court in Lufkin, Texas and sentenced to 18 years in prison on Oct. 17, 2017.”
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Gonzalez-Rico was driving south in one of the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 59 when he ran head-on into a northbound vehicle two miles north of Diboll.
A previous KTRE story stated that Willy Lacy, 48, of Alto, and Crystal Thomas, 29, of Lufkin, died at the scene of the wreck, and Crystal Thomas' son, Christopher Gross, 4, died on June 5 in a Dallas hospital. Another child was injured in the wreck.
Gonzalez-Rico was indicted on three counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxicated assault in October of 2009. However, he fled from the Houston hospital where he had been recovering from injuries he sustained in the crash.
Gonzalez-Rico had been on the run for six years when he was arrested in January of 2017.
If he is convicted of the immigration charge, Gonzalez-Rico faces up to two years in federal prison and deportation, the press release stated.
“This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security/Enforcement Removal Operations and the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke,” the press release stated.
The press release also stated that an indictment should not be considered evidence of guilt and that anyone charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Previous stories: Man gets 18 years in Angelina County drunk driving deaths of 3