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Dad accused in drunken wreck that killed daughter faces new charges

January 3, 2019

The father accused of killing his 11-year-old daughter during a drunken wreck on New Year’s Eve faced news charges Wednesday as his wife and son remain hospitalized, according to prosecutors.

Jorge Ledezma Echavarria has been charged with two counts of intoxicated assault after he allegedly ran a red light along the Crosby Freeway and crashed into another vehicle, said Sean Teare, head of the Vehicular Crimes Division at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. The crash at the intersection to the East Sam Houston feeder road sent Echavarria’s three family members in the car to a hospital.

The youngest passenger, Echavarria’s daughter, Vanessa Ledezma, died at a hospital that night. The girl’s mother suffered a broken pelvis and unspecified internal injuries, while her 15-year-old son is expected to undergo surgery for a brain bleed, Teare said.

“If it hasn’t been done already, it’s going to require surgical intervention to relieve that pressure,” Teare said.

It was at the hospital’s emergency room that authorities suspected Echavarria, 33, of drinking prior to the deadly crash. He had bloodshot eyes, was slurring his speech and smelled of alcohol, Teare said.

A blood test showed Echavarria was two and a half times the legal limit.

Echavarria told investigators he had been drinking at his Magnolia home in Montgomery County and left with his family to go visit someone.

His daughter was sitting in the backseat of their 2002 Chevy Tahoe at the time of the crash around 8:30 p.m., according to court documents. She was airlifted to a hospital and died just before 10 p.m.

He faces a felony murder charge in her death and is being held at the Harris County Jail on a $200,000 bond.

He is from Mexico and has no prior convictions in Harris County, records show. After his arrest, Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a detainer to deport him should he be released from custody.

nicole.hensley@chron.com

@nkhensley

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