Judge sets trial date in fatal Spring Break crash case

A judge set a trial date in the case of a Sugarland woman accused of driving drunk into a crowd of seven people, killing a Los Fresnos woman during Spring Break 2017 on South Padre Island.

On Wednesday morning, 445th state District Judge Gloria Rincones set an April 22 trial date for Daisy Joy Decker and told Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Rodriguez and defense attorneys Erin Gamez and Ernesto Gamez to finish discovery in the case, which has been ongoing for more than a year.

“It’s been a year now and you’re still doing discovery,” Rincones said during the hearing. “Y’all better move on this case.”

Discovery is a pre-trial process where attorneys obtain evidence from each other to prepare for trial.

Decker is charged with manslaughter, intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and accident involving death for the March 17 early morning death of 19-year-old Maria Selena Patino on the 4200 block of Gulf Boulevard. She is also facing three counts of accident involving injury, two counts of accident causing serious bodily injury and intoxicated assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury.

A Cameron County grand jury indicted Decker on Nov. 1, 2017, and she has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The accident occurred just before 1 a.m. on March 17, 2017, and the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office alleges that Decker was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when she swerved into a bike lane where six people were walking.

Patino, who was placed on life support until a day after the accident, graduated from Los Fresnos High School in 2015 and was attending Texas State Technical College in Harlingen at the time of the accident, the Los Fresnos News previously reported.

Three San Benito residents who attended Decker’s arraignment on Dec. 6, 2017, told The Brownsville Herald at the time that they never saw the vehicle that crashed into the crowd coming.

“I had gotten up. I felt like I was OK—then I saw two girls on the floor,” Daniel Zuniga said, explaining that he had been knocked unconscious and was transported to Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen.

Zuniga’s friend, Oscar Gonzales, said he got hit, but wasn’t knocked out.

“I got hit, but I didn’t go into shock,” Gonzales said. “I just got back up and I panicked.”

Shaila De La Cruz said she wasn’t hit.

“Everything happened so fast,” De La Cruz said. “I was the one to call 9-1-1.”

After the accident, she said she learned she was three months pregnant, adding that she delivered a healthy baby in mid-November, 2017.