Bartender accused of over-serving man before deadly prom night crash in 2016, officials say

By Megan Kennedy - Content Editor

HOUSTON - A bartender who is accused of serving 11 beers to a man before he got behind the wheel of a pickup truck and killed a teenager on her prom night was arrested Wednesday in connection with the incident, Harris County prosecutors said. 

Natalia Ortiz, 25, is charged with serving alcohol to Edin Palacios, who was reportedly visibly intoxicated in May 2016. Palacios also goes by the name Jose Toledo Lopez, investigators said.  

The misdemeanor filed against Ortiz carries a penalty of up to a year in jail, investigators said.   

Officials said Palacios, 26, was convicted of murder April 6 and sentenced to 32 years in prison. 

While pleading guilty, he admitted to driving drunk, slamming into the car carrying Jocelynn Valero and her prom date, investigators said. 

Valero, 18, died at the scene. Her date was hospitalized and survived, officials said. 

Ortiz was also charged with forgery of a government document for using the Social Security number of another person, investigators said. The crime carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

An investigation at the El Muelle Seafood restaurant, where Ortiz allegedly served Palacios, found documents to verify the forgery, officials said.

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