Man charged in 2003 drunk driving death arrested

A man wanted on charges that he drove drunk and killed a woman nearly 20 years ago has been booked into the Hidalgo County jail, records show.

Juan Jose Gomez, 39, is charged with intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and two counts of intoxication assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury.

He was booked Thursday, records show.

Jennifer Ybarra

According to the indictment, authorities say Gomez, who was not indicted on these charges until Aug. 11, drove drunk on Feb. 23, 2003, and killed Jennifer Ybarra.

It is not immediately clear why more than 17 years passed before Gomez was indicted and arrested to face the charges.

In a statement, Ybarra’s family says they missed their loved one deeply.

“Jennifer Lee Ybarra shined bright. She was extraordinary in every way. She was full of life. She had a great, witty sense of humor that always put a smile on your face,” the family said. “She loved her family and her close friends. We’ve never been the same without her. We love you and miss you every day.”

Gomez was initially scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 14, but he did not appear as he was not in Texas.

A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Court records in Ottawa County, Michigan, indicate he was arrested on Sept. 9. On Tuesday, a search of those records did not return a result for Gomez, indicating he may have been released.

As of Thursday morning, Hidalgo County jail records did not list bonds for Gomez.

This is a developing story.