Man Sentenced To 30 Years In Drunk Driving Deaths

Victims' Families Describe 'Horrible Nightmare'

SAN ANTONIO - The pain of a 2010 traffic wreck could be seen and heard in a crowded courtroom Friday as Paulino Cruz, 20, was sentenced on intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault charges.

"I just held him and he died in my arms," Rafaela Garcia sobbed as she described an emergency room visit where her son Eric Pena, 22, lay critically injured.

Cruz, his pregnant fiancee Lauren De Leon, 20, and Pedro Zamarippa, 23, were killed when a pickup truck driven by Cruz veered across the median at 90 miles an hour and slammed head-on into their car. A fourth passenger Lisa Molina, 24, was critically injured but survived.

The wreck happened on April 25, 2010, on Southeast Military Drive.

Cruz's blood alcohol level was 0.13 and he had marijuana in his system, according to prosecutors.

As the victim's families described shattered family dreams as the result of a "horrible nightmare" and spoke of futures lost forever, there was no mention of anger.

"We don't hate you. We hate the situation we've been put in," Jonah Garcia, Pena's brother, said as he addressed Cruz. "I do not feel you are a bad person and I feel that you are remorseful for the things you've done."

Cruz plead no contest to the charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on each intoxication manslaughter charge. 379th District Court Judge Ron Rangel ordered the sentences to run concurrently and stacked on an additional 10 year sentence on the intoxication assault charge.


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