El Paso Man Guilty in Fatal Crash on Mesa Across from KISS Studios [UPDATE]
Late last year, a horrific crash across Mesa from our studios took the lives of two young girls, and put two more young people in the hospital with serious injuries. The driver was drunk, and this week he stood trial for what happened that December night.
An El Paso jury said 23-year-old Miguel Vargas, whose blood alcohol level was more than 3 times the legal limit the night he crashed into a building on Executive Center, is guilty of intoxicated manslaughter and intoxicated assault.
Vargas said that he and his friends were getting into their car in the parking lot of the Marco Polo Lounge when he and the driver of another car decided to race. He said his passengers knew that, but one of the passengers, 18 year old Stacy Reyes, testified that she had screamed at him as they sped down Mesa, to stop racing.
Vargas didn’t stop. Instead, he slammed into the building across the street from the KISS studios, killing 19 year old Idaly Reyes, and 23 year old Kim Araujo. Kim Araujo’s body lay on Mesa for over 8 hours that morning as El Paso police conducted their investigation into the accident. 8 hours. Her parents couldn’t recover her body for 8 hours. People drove by her body for 8 hours. As a parent, I can’t imagine the sheer horror of that fact.
21 year old Nefi Armendariz, another survivor of the crash, suffered burns to 40 percent of his body when the car burst into flames after the impact, as well as several broken bones and a punctured lung.
Vargas walked away with only a dislocated shoulder and broken arm.
Vargas faces two to 20 years in prison on each of the intoxicated manslaughter charges and two to 10 years in prison on each of the intoxicated assault charges.
Vargas admitted to being responsible for the crash, and said he felt, quote “very bad” about it.
I blogged about the incident last December after I watched EPPD conduct their investigation, Kim Araujo’s body covered by a white sheet and shielded from traffic by a 3 sided plastic barrier. It was a profoundly disturbing morning for all of here at the station, especially the parents. We could only imagine what heartache the victim’s families were going through. I wish I could say that after that horrible accident that things changed and we learned our lesson about drinking and driving, but we all know from the news, that is not the case.
Our prayers go out to the familes of Kim Araujo and Idaly Reyes.