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Plea deal didn’t work; case set for trial in January
Plea deal didn’t work; case set for trial in January

Plea deal didn’t work; case set for trial in January

Vehicular manslaughter case Based on Hidalgo County District Clerk records, the plea deal offered by the DA’s Office last week to 20-year-old Orlando Zuniga Rodriguez didn’t work out this Monday for unexplained reasons. Either the defendant didn’t accept what was being offered, based on the advice of his court-appointed attorney, Ricardo A. Flores, or perhaps the victim’s family didn’t like the deal being offered, which is typically presented to them as a matter of courtesy by prosecutors. In other words, if someone is convicted of killing your loved one because he/she decided to drive drunk and stoned, are you okay with prosecutors offering the person charged with the crime a reduced prison sentence and/ or probation if they plead guilty? Obviously, the family’s thoughts and input depend on a lot of factors. What is the defendant being offered in the way of a sentence, for example, in exchange for a guilty plea? Few prosecutors want to offer a plea deal that doesn’t carry with it the family’s blessings. The “intoxication manslaughter with vehicle” second-degree felony Rodriguez faces, along with four other felony counts tied to the fatal wreck dating back to last December, are now scheduled for trial Jan. 27, 2020. For the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department, the crash was a heartbreaker because the victim in the deadly crash was well-liked dispatcher Sandra Coronado who was only 29 at the time of her death. For her, the department was like a second home, thanks to some of her relatives also working at the SO. At the time of her death, based on comments posted on social media, she was one of those people who made the world a better place simply by her presence. The day and time of the fatal crash were also unusual: on an early Sunday morning at approximately 6:45 a.m.; probably a day and time when drivers feel the most safe, thanks to fewer vehicles on the road. Coronado was heading north on Expressway 281, on her way to work as a sheriff’s dispatcher, when police investigators say that Rodriguez came speeding out of the east on Alberta Rd. in his Chevy pickup, jumped the frontage road, grass median, before landing on the expressway where he plowed into the passenger’s side of Coronado’s mid-size SUV at a high rate of speed, pushing it into the concrete median. Orlando Zuniga Rodriguez had been handed probation (suspended sentence) for a 2017-related misdemeanor DWI just ...

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