CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — Mexican National Manuel Rendon-Lucas, 19, has been ordered to federal prison and must pay nearly $3 million in restitution for his involvement in a deadly single vehicle accident that occurred in Brooks County in Novemeber 2013, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Rendon-Lucas pleaded guilty March 21, 2014, to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens causing serious bodily injury.
Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack handed the teenager a sentence of 200 months of federal imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. Rendon-Lucas was also ordered to pay more than $2.65 million in restitution. In handing down the sentence, the judge noted she had never seen such an egregious case.
The charges stem from a Nov. 23, 2013, single vehicle accident in Brooks County that killed five and injured 10, including Rendon-Lucas, who was driving. All of the vehicle’s occupants were determined to be undocumented aliens from Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador and Nicaragua.
On that date, while attempting to flee from law enforcement officers at a high rate of speed, the vehicle hit a construction barrier and begin to swerve out of control. As the vehicle began to skid, it exited the roadway and struck a curb with its left front tire causing the vehicle to become airborne. The front left portion of the vehicle then struck a tree at a high rate of speed. Five occupants were pronounced dead on the scene, including a brush guide who had assisted in smuggling the undocumented aliens. Several of the survivors sustained spinal fractures during the accident and remain paralyzed.
In federal custody since his arrest, Rendon-Lucas will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The charge stems from an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, Border Patrol, Falfurrias Police Department, Brooks County Sheriff’s Department and Texas Department of Public Safety.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Watt.