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DPS: Drunken driver killed 15-year-old girl, injured 14-year-old boy

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A drunken driver killed a 15-year-old girl and seriously injured a 14-year-old boy Sunday north of Alamo, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

At about 10 p.m. Sunday, a blue 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe was speeding on Owassa Road between Tower Road and Val Verde Road, according to a summary of the preliminary investigation released by DPS.

"The driver was speeding over the limit and was under the influence of alcohol, and as a result struck a dog and two pedestrians," according to DPS. "The driver did not stop and continued west on Owassa Road."

The crash killed Liza Cavazos, 15, of Edinburg, according to DPS. Santiago Tapia, 14, of Donna "sustained serious bodily injuries."

The driver of the Chevrolet Tahoe, 37-year-old Maricella Escobar of Edinburg, was found nearby.

Escobar showed signs of intoxication, according to DPS, and troopers obtained a search warrant for a blood sample.

Escobar was booked at the Hidalgo County jail on charges of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle, intoxication assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury, accident involving serious bodily injury or death, and accident involving serious bodily injury.

Court records don't list an attorney for Escobar, who remained in jail Monday and couldn't be reached for comment.

The crash on Sunday night wasn't Escobar's first arrest on drunken driving charges, according to Hidalgo County court records.

In September 2011, Escobar pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, a Class B misdemeanor. Hidalgo County Court-at-Law Judge Jaime J. Palacios sentenced her to 90 days in jail but suspended the sentence and placed her on community supervision for 9 months, according to court records.

In April 2012, Escobar pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated, a Class A misdemeanor. Palacios sentenced her to one year in jail but suspended the sentence and placed her on community supervision for 18 months, according to court records.

Escobar was arrested again in June 2016 on another drunken driving charge.

A grand jury indicted her on the charge of driving while intoxicated-third or more, a third-degree felony.

Escobar was placed in a DWI court program. After she successfully completed the program, a judge dismissed the felony charge in May 2018.

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