“Smiling” Manslaughter Trial’s First Day Reveals Emotional Details

Local News

Day One of the trial for Taylor Nicole Ramirez was an emotional start however, the defendant accused of killing the man she loved appeared calm as video of her arrest was shown to twelve jurors. KVEO News Center 23’s Derick Garcia was in the courtroom and has followed this case since August 30th, the night Taylor Nicole Ramirez is accused of crashing into motorcyclist David Salinas.

Harlingen Police Officer Nikolas Torell conducted the field sobriety test on Ramirez at approximately 2 AM. According to Torell, Ramirez failed every exam and had a moderate to strong odor of alcohol. In court during the opening arguments from the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office, Ramirez was 3x over the .08 legal limit. In fact, because Ramirez denied a breath sample she was taken to Valley Baptist Medical Center for a court ordered blood draw. The results revealed her blood alcohol level to be .248. 

While Torell was on the stand jurors watched the unedited dash cam footage of Ramirez’s sobriety test. Typically audio is recorded along with video, however, Torell’s body microphone malfunctioned. Once Ramirez was arrested and placed into Torell’s unit for transport to Harlingen Police Department’s Jail, a second microphone inside the unit turned on. The first audible statements from Ramirez was “Did I really hurt him that bad?” She then went on to sob uncontrollably before demanding to be “let go” and be with Salinas’ as he was transported to Valley Baptist Medical Center with serious injuries. In the video Ramirez also contested the legalities of the sobriety test, told the officer she was in love with Salinas and said she would pass another sobriety test if the officer would let her out of the unit. 

While Ramirez inquired on the seriousness of Salinas injuries from the back of the police unit, Salinas was suffering from a broken neck and internal injuries. According to the opening statements by the State, the back of Salinas’ skull broke Ramirez’s windshield.

Ramirez’ attorney John Blaylock said the intoxication is without question a factor but claims Salinas was stopped at a green traffic light when he was struck from behind. He also argues Ramirez attempted to swerve into another lane to miss Salinas. 

Along with Torell’s testimony were the officers who responded to the scene, searched Ramirez’s vehicle and bystanders who performed CPR and called 9-1-1. 

According to Cameron County Court Records, the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Crime Lab Scientists, the phlebotomist who drew Ramirez’s blood, Harlingen Police Investigators and a forensic pathologist are set to testify.  

Judge Janet Leal expects the trial to take no more than two weeks before a verdict can be made. 

Ramirez is charged with Intoxicated Assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury and Intoxicated manslaughter. If convicted she faces up to 20 years in prison.

Correction to the video:  David Salinas’ Blood Alcohol Level was .18 and not .124

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