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Drunk wrong-way driver gets 30 years for deadly accident

Richard Sanchez was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading “no contest” to the charges of Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault. (Photo courtesy Bexar County Sheriff's Office)

SAN ANTONIO - Richard Sanchez, 50, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading “no contest” to the charges of Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault, both with a deadly weapon finding.

On January 7, 2017, Sanchez was driving the wrong way on IH-35 around 2:49 a.m. 18-year-old Miguel Hernandez was travelling with his family in a van from Mexico to Georgia, when Sanchez struck their vehicle head-on. The impact caused the van to catch fire. Sanchez’s vehicle was then struck by another vehicle. That vehicle struck a fourth vehicle.

Miguel, who had muscular dystrophy, passed away from his injuries later that morning in the hospital. Several of Miguel’s family members, who are currently residing out of state, are still recovering from their injuries.

Responding officers said Sanchez had a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech and admitted to taking prescription drugs. Court papers state Sanchez admitted to officers he was taking prescription medications and refused to provide a voluntary blood specimen. A warrant was issued so officers could obtain the blood draw.

After obtaining a warrant for his blood, Sanchez had to be restrained in order for his blood to be drawn. Toxicology results later showed that Sanchez had a blood alcohol concentration of .19, more than two times the legal limit. At the time of the January 2017 crash, Sanchez was on probation for Driving While Intoxicated. Additionally, Sanchez was previously convicted for Indecency with a Child by Exposure.

Under the plea agreement, Sanchez was sentenced to the maximum 20 years in prison for the Intoxication Manslaughter and the maximum 10 years in prison for the Intoxication Assault. The judge stacked both sentences, making his total sentence 30 years in prison. Additionally, Sanchez pleaded guilty to two additional Intoxication Assault charges and one Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge. These charges were taken into consideration for the plea agreement.


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