San Antonio, Texas, September 12, 2016: On Friday afternoon, a Bexar County jury sentenced Zachary Wade Lenius, age 32, to 60 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Earlier in the week, the defendant had pleaded guilty to Murder.
On November 29, 2014, the defendant was involved in a deadly crash at a gas station located at the 12000 block of O’Connor Road. After fleeing the scene of a hit and run crash at Perrin Bietel and Centergate, the defendant failed to negotiate the curve right before the gas station, crossed over the turn lane and struck the victim, Joo Chung, head-on. The force from the impact pushed the victim’s vehicle up into the parking lot of the gas station, where both vehicles came to rest. The defendant was identified by an off-duty State Trooper who was following behind him at the time of the crash. As the off-duty trooper was assisting the victim, Joo Chung, the defendant fled from the scene. The off-duty trooper chased after him and brought him back to the crash scene, where he was evaluated by a DWI officer and found to be intoxicated. The defendant refused a blood draw. A search warrant was obtained and his blood drawn at the hospital. The toxicology results showed his blood alcohol content was .11. Lenius initially denied being the driver, but later told the arresting officer he was driving the truck. Additionally, DNA from the airbag was a match to the DNA obtained from the Defendant.
At his trial, the defendant pled guilty to the jury for the offense of Murder. The State called several witnesses to the stand, detailing the events of both crashes. In addition, the State put on evidence of the defendant’s two prior DWIs, and past criminal history – which included two felony cases, an aggravated assault and a drug case, which he was on probation for at the time of the deadly crash.
Murder is a first degree felony, punishable by 5-99 years, or life in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine. However, the defendant’s punishment range was enhanced to 15 years to life in prison because he was considered a repeat offender. Assistant District Attorneys Jessica Frazier and Joseph Hooker from the DWI Task Force prosecuted the case against Lenius in the 226th District Court