SAN ANTONIO – A 21-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison for a fiery hit-and-run crash that left a father and his daughter dead.
Cesar Gonzalez was driving 85 mph in the 3400 block of West Popular Street on Jan. 1, 2020, when he struck a minivan backing out of the driveway, according to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.
The impact caused the van with a father and three children inside to catch fire. Family members heard the crash and went to try to help Jesus Aguilar Jr. to free his children from the burning vehicle.
Christina Spohn, 14, was ejected from the van and died. Aguilar, 31, was trapped inside the van and died. His 5-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter suffered burns, as did other members of the family who tried to help.
Gonzalez testified in court that he saw the fire and heard people screaming, but he chose to run from the scene.
“It was a mistake that I can’t fix,” he said.
Gonzalez pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl sentenced Gonzalez to the maximum allowed by law for each charge. The sentences will run concurrently as state law does not allow for the sentences to run consecutively.
“My heart goes out to the entire Aguilar family. In one moment, they went from celebrating the promise of the New Year to grieving the loss of their loved ones. This defendant made a series of terrible choices that can never be undone. His recklessness could have harmed or even killed more people. This family has waited through the pandemic to have this case be resolved. Now that the defendant has been sentenced, I hope they can finally work on healing from this tragedy,” said Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales.