UPDATED (9:20 a.m.): Teen driver in 2012 crash that killed two teens agrees to 20 years in prison
An Abilene teen charged with five felonies in a drunk driving accident that killed two other teens pleaded guilty Tuesday and will be going to prison.
Eliseo Garza, 18, was driving five of his friends down FM 600 in April 2012 when he veered off the road and hit a tree.
His friends 16-year-old Elexus Flores and 13-year-old Breanna Camacho died as a result.
Garza faced three felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two felony counts of intoxication manslaughter. He accepted a plea deal Thursday and pleaded guilty to the intoxication manslaughter charges. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for each charge, but will serve the sentences concurrently.
“I wasn't going to go to trial because it didn't need to go that far,” Garza said in a jailhouse interview after the plea hearing. “People are hurt, I'm hurt and nobody needs to be hurting no more and it's going to take time to heal because bruises don't heal overnight, but I just hope one of these days [the victims’ families] can forgive me.”
Forgiveness is the last thing on Breanna Camacho’s father Rocky Flores’s mind, however. Flores is also Elexus Flores’s uncle.
“There's nothing inside of me that I will ever forgive him. You took my child from me you took my own flesh and blood. You took my brothers child,” Flores said. “To me justice wasn't done. 20 years is not enough for losing two beautiful lives.”
Flores also read a hard-hitting letter to Garza in the courtroom as the rest of the victims’ families sobbed.
“I know he said he don't want to forgive me but I know one of these days he will forgive me and find it in his heart that he will forgive me one day because God forgave me and I've forgiven myself [for] doing that and I know they can forgive me also, hopefully, by the grace of God,” Garza said.
Garza said getting behind the wheel in April changed him forever.
“When I get out I'm going to straighten up, get a job, take care of my kids, finish where I left off and hopefully I can go to school and teach kids that drinking and driving and drugs and partying is not the thing to do these days no more because you can't get now where, you're not going to get nowhere, you're not going to get nowhere, you're going to get [in jail] or down in the ground,” Garza said.
Garza will be eligible for parole after serving more than half of his sentence. He will be credited back time for being in jail ever since he was arrested in May 2012.
Garza will be transferred from the Jones County Jail to a prison facility within 45 days.
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