Plea Deal Reached in Fatal Kaufman Bus Accident
About The Fatal Accident
According to inForney.com, the accident occurred on January 6th, 2011 in Kaufman County, Texas.
The Kaufman Independent School District bus, was making its routine stops on the outskirts of Kaufman, Texas. The bus stopped on State Highway 34 near Farm-to-Market 2728, where 7-year-old Nicholas Garza exited.
While attempting to cross the street, Garza walked in front of the bus when he was struck by Salvador Hernandez of Terrell, Texas, resulting in his death. One of Garza’s siblings witnessed the accident.
The school bus’s flashing red warning lights and stop arm were out at the time of the accident. Hernandez immediately stopped the bus after the accident occurred.
Authorities say no alcohol or drugs were involved. Hernandez provided a blood sample and was cooperative.
Driver Takes Plea Deal
On February 24, 2011, the second-degree felony charge was brought on by a Kaufman County grand jury. Hernandez was arrested for involuntary manslaughter. He was held on a $200,000 bond and was released after posting it.
In the last three years, the defense and the state have met 15 times to negotiate plea deals and the case factors.
Judge B. Michael Chitty is presiding over the Kaufman County’s 422nd District Court, where Hernandez pleaded guilty on Wednesday, October 29th 2014.
Hernandez pleaded guilty, as part of a plea agreement, to a lesser charge of criminal negligent homicide with the use of a vehicle as a deadly weapon. Before the plea agreement was presented to Hernandez, KISD, Garza’s parents, and foster parents were informed about the plea agreement.
The Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office Prosecutor, Marc Moffitt, commented that when deciding on a plea agreement, “all the factors come into play.” The plea agreement allowed Hernandez to admit guilt to a third-degree felony rather than a second-degree felony.
Hernandez was fined $2,000 and must pay court fees of $290. He was also sentenced to 40 hours of community service and five years deferred adjudication.
Hernandez is still facing a civil suit, however, for wrongful death and bystander damages due to loss of companionship and trauma, among other claims. The suit was filed in June 2012 by the Garza family and co-defendents: KISD, Garza’s fosterparents, and the foster program, and is seeking over $1,000,000.
The lawsuit is on the behalf of Nicholas Garza and his siblings, one who witnessed the death and two others who later saw the accident