Woman, 68, dies after granddaughter's boyfriend crashes car during police chase

Ray Reyes Soto, 19, facing felony charges including murder, police say

By Adrian Garcia - Digital Journalist

LEON VALLEY, Texas - A 68-year-old San Antonio woman was killed in a crash Thursday after Leon Valley police said her granddaughter's boyfriend led authorities on a low-speed chase.

The man, identified as 19-year-old Ray Reyes Soto, is facing a murder charge for the death of Yolanda Mesa, 68.

Leon Valley police Chief Joe Salvaggio said officers tried to stop Soto for an expired registration but he refused to pull over because he had active warrants for his arrest.

Salvaggio said the chase, which hit speeds of 20-30 mph, started on the access road of Loop 410 near the Skechers shoe store and ended in the parking lot of H-E-B near Loop 410 and Bandera Road.

"(Soto) kept pulling into parking lots as if he was going to stop. He would hit his brakes and then the officer would start to get out and then he'd drive off," Salvaggio said.

Soto lost control of his vehicle and hit a concrete basin for a telephone pole with his girlfriend in the passenger seat and Mesa in the backseat.

"Unfortunately, (Mesa) sustained some serious injuries. At the time, we believed it was only a broken wrist and a head injury," Salvaggio said. "When she got to the hospital, she had some major issues and eventually was pronounced dead."

By looking at the accident and damage caused to the vehicle, police said it is shocking Mesa's injuries resulted in her death. Salvaggio said it appears the backseat was not secured and Mesa was not wearing a seat belt, causing her to go forward and possibly hit something.

"The backseat was flipped up on top of her when the officers approached the vehicle," Salvaggio said. "She had to have hit something -- the front seats, the dashboard or the (center) console. We just don't know at this point."

Salvaggio said police found at least 21 grams of hydro-marijuana inside Soto's vehicle at the time of the crash.

Soto is expected to be charged with murder, a first-degree felony; evading arrest, a second-degree felony; and possession of marijuana.

"Because it was an intentional act on his part not to make a stop, (prosecutors) determined to go with a murder charge," Salvaggio said. 

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