Edinburg man tells PD lack of sleep, Xanax caused triple fatality

EDINBURG — A judge on Wednesday ruled a hospital bed confession a 20-year-old man made after a crash last year that left a grandmother, mother and toddler dead is admissible as evidence.

Luis Javier Gonzalez, a 20-year-old Edinburg resident who is charged with three counts of intoxication manslaughter and a count of intoxication assault, appeared in court as his defense attorneys attempted to convince state District Judge Fernando Mancias to throw out the 30-minute video interrogation taken a day after the crash, where Gonzalez tells police he took a Xanax to calm himself for his second date with a woman in the hours before the fatal crash.

Gonzalez lost control of his Chevrolet Malibu at around 9:26 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2018, veering into oncoming traffic in the 300 block of East Monte Cristo Road, striking a Chevrolet Sonic with four family members head-on.

The 20-year-old stands accused of killing 33-year-old Marci Lou Powell, 55-year-old Maria Isabel De La Garza and 3-year-old Joshua Devin Powell while driving under the influence.

Edinburg traffic investigator Armando Celedon met with Gonzalez in his hospital room following surgeries the man went through the day after the accident.

Defense attorneys Oscar Vega and Adolfo Alvarez Jr. argued that their client was not fit to be interviewed by the investigator because he had surgery a few hours previous to the interview, as well as arguing that investigators illegally interviewed Gonzalez.

Mancias, the judge, disagreed.

The video clearly shows Gonzalez being read his rights and agreeing to speak to the investigator and the man also appears to understand Celedon’s questions.

Gonzalez told police that he had not slept since Aug. 8, 2018, when he stayed up until 6 a.m. on Aug. 9 talking to a woman he met on the social media app Instagram and then went to work until two or three p.m.

Then he went on his second date with the woman he had met and the couple hung out at a McAllen park.

At around 8:45 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2018, he took the woman home.

During some point in the day, unbeknownst to his date, Gonzalez admitted to taking one Xanax pill.

He told Celedon, the investigator, that he believed a combination of lack of sleep and the Xanax is what caused the crash, as well as admitting that he should not have been driving.

“I had no sleep,” Gonzalez says in the video.

Gonzalez denied using alcohol or any other drugs and told police he did not have a prescription for the Xanax he took, which he knew was illegal.

A jury trial is scheduled for Dec. 9.

mreagan@themonitor.com