Grand jury indicts underaged woman accused in fatal DWI crash that killed couple, injured 4 children in Helotes

Elena Mae Carranza had 3 alcoholic drinks at River Walk bar before crash, affidavit states

Elena Carranza has been arrested on charges related to drunken driving in a crash in Helotes earlier this year that killed a couple and injured their four children.
Elena Carranza has been arrested on charges related to drunken driving in a crash in Helotes earlier this year that killed a couple and injured their four children. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A 20-year-old woman accused of causing a crash in Helotes earlier this year, killing a couple and injuring their four children, has been indicted.

A Bexar County grand jury formally charged Elena Mae Carranza with two counts of intoxication manslaughter, one count of intoxication assault and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the District Attorney’s office announced Friday.

Craig Smith, 54, and Susan Smith, 39, were killed in the Jan. 3 crash in the 12900 block of Highway 16 in Helotes.

Helotes police said Carranza was driving a 2008 Toyota Tundra and traveling northbound on the highway when she crashed into a 2016 Kia Sedona occupied by the Smiths.

Four children in the Sedona, ranging in age from 6 to 16, were injured and taken to University Hospital. Their parents were pronounced dead at the scene.

Responding officers noticed a “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” on Carranza and slurred speech, an arrest warrant affidavit states. She told officers that she had “three mimosas” at “lunch,” the affidavit states.

She was transported to the hospital, police said, and her blood alcohol content level was recorded at 0.12.

Data from her Tundra showed that she was traveling 79 miles per hour a second before impact, police said. The posted speed limit in that area is 45 miles per hour.

Police said her bank records showed she purchased three alcoholic beverages from the Mad Dogs British Pub on the River Walk earlier that day.

Records show Carranza was 20 years old at the time of the accident.

The DA’s office said the case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Trial Division in the 437th District Court.

Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony that could result in up to 20 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $10,000.

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Rebecca Salinas has worked as a digital journalist in San Antonio for six years. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.