Suspected drunken driver accused of killing teen on prom night appears in court
HOUSTON – Prosecutors say Edin Palacios-Rodas, 26, had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit when he struck a car carrying two teens on their prom date early Saturday, killing one and severely injuring the other.
Palacios made his first court appearance Monday to hear the evidence against him. He's charged with felony murder and evading arrest.
Houston police say an officer tried to pull him over after seeing him drive over a curb and then speed away at in a white Ford pickup truck around 1 a.m. Saturday. Palacios was clocked at 46 mph in a 35-mph zone. When the officer flashed his emergency lights, Palacios stopped, but then sped away after the officer stepped out of his patrol car, prosecutors say.
The officer reported that Palacios' truck sped through several red lights, finally running a red light at the intersection of the N. Freeway Service and Tidwell roads, hitting a car carrying Jocelynn Valero, 18, and driven by her boyfriend 18-year-old Moises Avila. The young couple were going home after attending their prom.
Valero was killed. Avila was taken to Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital with broken bones and internal injuries.
Palacios allegedly attempted to flee, but was subdued by the officer and a wrecker driver. He suffered minor injuries and police said he showed signs of intoxication.
He allegedly told the officer that he'd had one Miller Lite, and ran attempted to flee because he was scared. But prosecutors say blood analysis showed Palacios had a blood alcohol level of 0.1888. Anything above 0.08 is considered legally intoxicated under Texas law.
Valero's death comes shortly after her brother, Jose Valero, was killed in front of a nightclub in the early hours of April 7.
"She was only 18 years old. It's two tragedies in a month and a week," Delores Valero, Jocelynn's cousin, said.
"We're not even done mourning, done finished mourning for my brother, and for this to happen to my sister. It's just devastating and it's hard," Mario Valero, Jocelynn's brother, said.
Family and friends gathered Sunday to remember Jocelynn Valero at the place where she died.