Carlos Alexander Avila was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Jan. 10 in an agreement with prosecutors after pleading guilty to intoxicated manslaughter.
The 37-year-old Houston man was indicted for killing a woman in a head-on collision while intoxicated last year.
According to the Assistant District Attorney Lesleigh Morton, Rosa Lopez-Gomez was driving to work on FM 521 in the Fresno area during the early morning of April 12 when her vehicle was struck almost head-on by a vehicle driven by Carlos Avila. The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, Fort Bend County EMS, the Fresno Fire Department and the Missouri City Fire Department all responded to the scene.
Lopez-Gomez was transported via AirMed to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. She worked at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Houston and was still an active reservist in the U.S. Navy and a student at Houston Community College.
Avila was also taken to Memorial Hermann by ambulance where DPS Troopers executed a search warrant to draw blood from Avila to determine if he was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Laboratory records indicate that two hours after the fatal collision, Avila’s blood alcohol level was .195, which is more than twice the legal limit. Six hours after the fatal crash, another blood sample registered .083 – still above the legal limit.
After being released from the hospital, Avila was arrested for intoxication manslaughter and transported to the Fort Bend County Jail. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also placed a detainer on Avila, who is a citizen of El Salvador and not a legal resident of the United States. Avila has twice been deported from the United States, making this Avila’s third illegal entry into the United States at the time the offense occurred.
“This is yet another case where lives are broken because somebody chose to drink and drive,” said Morton. “Lopez-Gomez dedicated her life not only to serving our country, but by continuing to help the men and women who also served through her work at the VA Hospital. She will forever be missed by friends and family.”
Avila was prosecuted in the 400th District Court before Presiding Judge Maggie Jaramillo. Intoxication manslaughter in this case is a second-degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Because the court ruled that Avila’s car was a deadly weapon, he must serve at least one-half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Attorney Silvia Pubchara represented the defendant.