DWI defendant sentenced to 15 years in prison

John Ramirez drove van that hit, killed Nathan Chavez

By Paul Venema - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A convicted drunken driver who fled the scene after the van he was driving ran over and killed a teenager was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday.

In May, John Ramirez struck and killed Nathan Chavez, 17, after his van jumped a curb in the 3100 block of Culebra. Chavez was waiting for a bus to take him to work.

Ramirez fled the scene and was arrested later, police said.

Ramirez plead guilty to intoxication manslaughter charges before Judge Raymond Angelini in the 187th District Court.

Angelini ruled that Rodriguez' van was legally a deadly weapon, which means Rodriguez must serve one half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Chavez's mother, Sandrz Cruz, was in court for the sentencing. Cruz was allowed to tell Ramirez face-to-face how she's been impacted by her son's death.

"Drunk driving is not OK," Cruz said to Ramirez. "Please understand that drunk driving is not OK. We've already lost three family members to drunk driving. It's not OK."

Chavez's death was also hard on Jon Estrada, a friend of Chavez.

"Not a day goes by that we don't think of him," Estrada said.

To view a list of recent stories Paul Venema has done, click here.

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