16-year-old sentenced for intox manslaughter

By CASEY KNAUPP
Staff Writer

A 16-year-old boy was sentenced Monday to 20 years in prison for driving intoxicated and causing a collision in Tyler that killed a pregnant woman and seriously injured a young girl.

Jaime Arrellano, of Carthage, pleaded guilty to two counts of intoxicated manslaughter and one charge of intoxicated assault. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for causing the death of Martha Fidela Mondragon, 31, of Tyler, in the June 23 wreck. Arrellano was also sentenced to 16 years in prison for causing the death of Ms. Mondragon's unborn child and 10 years for injuring 6-year-old Bianca Mondragon.

Judge Cynthia Stevens Kent, of the 114th District Court, also assessed a $5,000 fine and ordered that the sentences run at the same time. Arrellano, who was certified to stand trial as an adult, will be eligible for parole after serving 10 years in prison because Judge Kent found that Arrellano used a deadly weapon - his vehicle - during the offense.

Arrellano, who used a Spanish-speaking interpreter, cried as Ms. Mondragon's niece spoke to the defendant on behalf of the family during victim allocution.

She said Arrellano made a decision that affected both of their families, but he was still able to see his when they can no longer see Martha. She told him to think about the decisions he makes when he gets out of jail and that he didn't know the damage he caused her family.

Tyler police said the crash happened at around 11 p.m. on June 23. Ms. Mondragon was driving her Ford Mustang westbound on Front Street with 6-year-old Bianca in the car, when a black Ford Explorer, driven by Arrellano and traveling northbound on Broadway Avenue, ran a red light and slammed into her car in the intersection.

Bianca was seriously injured in the crash and was flown by helicopter to Children's Hospital in Dallas. Ms. Mondragon, who was pregnant, was transported to the emergency room at East Texas Medical Center, where doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section to deliver a baby boy. Both Ms. Mondragon and the baby died several hours later.

Arrellano was taken to the Mother Frances Hospital emergency room, where he was treated for minor injuries and then taken into police custody.

He faced two to 20 years in prison for the intoxicated manslaughter charges and two to 10 years for the intoxicated assault.

Defense attorneys F.R. "Buck" Files Jr. and Brett Harrison represented the defendant, while Assistant District Attorney Jason Parrish prosecuted the case.

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