Trial begins in case of fatal crash caused by alleged car racing

EDINBURG — It was the first day of trial Wednesday in a case prosecutor Vance Gonzales described as the “product of three vehicles and four human lives colliding with one another.”

Ciro Manuel Rodriguez Treviño, 28, faces one count of racing on a highway causing bodily injury and one count of racing on a highway causing death for his alleged role in a two-car crash that killed Marcelo Flores, 20, and left Angel Cordero “Cordy” Garcia, 25, with a traumatic brain injury.

Rene Raul Ramirez III, 23, also faces similar charges and will be tried separately from Treviño.

Garcia, who was in a wheelchair as a result of his injuries sustained in the crash, was present along with members of his family. Family members of Flores and Treviño were also on-hand for the trial, which District Judge Noe Gonzalez is presiding over.

As opening statements and witness testimony began Wednesday, it was clear that emotions were high in the courtroom. Defense attorney Jose Antonio “Tony” Gomez acknowledged as much, referring to the case as a “very emotional” one.

Initially in question is whether Treviño and Ramirez were engaged in illegal high-speed racing on a McAllen street the night of Jan. 5, 2016, which is when the incident occurred, and whether this caused the collision.

The defense argues that Garcia, who was on the phone while driving his Jeep at the time, made a rolling stop at the intersection of North 10th Street and Sprague Street in McAllen — running a red light before crashing into Treviño’s Corvette.

Gomez also called into the question the McAllen Police Department’s determination of the speed at which his client was traveling, which was determined from surveillance footage from 10th Street businesses.

Gonzales, assistant district attorney, referred to the footage as one part of an “ocean of evidence.”

“Everything was recorded in this case,” Gonzales said of video evidence, which includes a GoPro camera found in Flores’ lap.

The trial is expected to last into early next week.

If convicted of the second-degree felony charges, Treviño faces between two and 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

This report has been updated to correctly identify the second charge as racing on a highway causing death.