San Antonio, Texas, August 11, 2017: This week, 290th District Court Judge Melisa Skinner sentenced Richard Sanchez, age 50, to 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Sanchez pleaded “no contest” to the charges of Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault, both with a deadly weapon finding. Under the plea agreement, Sanchez was sentenced to the maximum 20 years in prison for the Intoxication Manslaughter and the maximum 10 years in prison for the Intoxication Assault. Judge Skinner stacked both sentences, per the State’s request, making his total sentence 30 years in prison. Additionally, Sanchez pleaded guilty to two additional Intoxication Assault charges and one Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge. These charges were taken into consideration for the plea agreement.
On January 7, 2017, Sanchez was driving the wrong way on IH-35 around 2:49 a.m. 18-year-old Miguel Hernandez was travelling with his family in a van from Mexico to Georgia, when Sanchez struck their vehicle head-on. The impact caused the van to catch fire. Sanchez’s vehicle was then struck by another vehicle. That vehicle struck a fourth vehicle. Miguel, who had muscular dystrophy, passed away from his injuries later that morning in the hospital. Several of Miguel’s family members, who are currently residing out of state, are still recovering from their injuries.
Responding officers said Sanchez had a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech and admitted to taking prescription drugs. Sanchez refused to tell officers where he was coming from. Sanchez was non-complaint and uncooperative with medical staff and San Antonio police officers. After obtaining a warrant for his blood, Sanchez had to be restrained in order for his blood to be drawn. Toxicology results later showed that Sanchez had a blood alcohol concentration of .19, more than two times the legal limit, when his blood was drawn. At the time of the January 2017 crash, Sanchez was on probation for Driving While Intoxicated. Additionally, Sanchez was previously convicted for Indecency with a Child by Exposure.
Intoxication Manslaughter is a second degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine. Intoxication Assault is a third degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine. Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon is a second degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Due to the deadly weapon finding, Sanchez will have to serve half of the times of his sentences before he is eligible for parole. Assistant District Attorney Jessica Frazier from our DWI Task Force prosecuted the case against Sanchez in the 290th District Court.