Trial begins in intoxication manslaughter case

Charges involve 2017 death on street in downtown McAllen

EDINBURG — Only 21-year-old Kevin Andrade knows whether he saw a red light at the intersection of 15th Street and West U.S. Business Highway 83 a.m. on July 15, 2017, before entering a crosswalk.

But Andrade isn’t alive to answer that question because of then 29-year-old Leonel Martinez Adame’s reckless actions that night, Assistant District Attorney Ana Liz De Leon-Vargas told a jury Wednesday morning.

Adame, now 31, had been drinking that night when he was driving recklessly that night before hitting Andrade, sending the young man flying 54 feet from the site of impact, before fleeing the scene of the accident, according to police.

C.J. Quintanilla, Adame’s attorney, painted a different scene Wednesday morning, telling a jury that Andrade tragically ran into traffic that night, nearly getting hit by another vehicle, before being struck by Adame.

“He’s not responsible for that young man’s death,” Quintanilla said.

The two sides set the stage for Adame’s trial. He is charged with a count of intoxication manslaughter and a count of accident involving death.

He has entered not guilty pleas to the charges.

De Leon-Vargas told the jury that Andrade had been downtown with friends that night.

She also said Adame’s choice that night to get drunk and drive is the only reason Andrade died.

The prosecutor described his behavior as not cautious and not careful.

After his arrest, De Leon-Vargas said he denied hitting anyone, but he later confessed at the McAllen police station.

Quintanilla challenged that narrative, telling the jury surveillance video will show that Andrade ran into the road.

He also challenged the assertion that Adame was driving recklessly, telling jurors that an accident reconstruction will show that he would have been driving 28 mph in a 35 mph zone that night.

Not only that, Adame had a green light, giving him the right-of-way instead of Andrade.

Quintanilla said the evidence will also show that Adame’s blood alcohol content was .12 or .13 while Andrade’s was .20 or .21.

The legal limit to drive in Texas is .08.

The first day of trial also featured testimony from two eye witnesses to the crash, as well as two police officers, including the first officer on scene and the officer involved in the traffic stop that resulted in Adame’s arrest.

The trial is scheduled to continue Thursday.