Teen who killed 13-year-old girl in hit-and-run in Upper Valley gets probation

Crime

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A teenage driver who hit and killed a 13-year-old girl walking home from school and then fled the scene last year has been sentenced to probation.

Samuel Thomas Garcia, 17, pleaded guilty in the 409th District Court on Thursday morning to one count of an accident involving death.

He received a 10-year suspended prison sentence, as per a plea agreement with the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office.

The agreement also included a $5,000 fine, 800 hours of community service, a 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, and being required to get a college degree.

Garcia also must attend a victim impact statement panel, do a urinary and breath analysis every time he reports, and cannot be discharged from probation early.

Garcia was driving in the 5500 block of Montoya Drive when he hit and killed Giselle Martinez, 13, while she was walking home from Lincoln Middle School with her brother.

“I hope that you never forget Giselle’s face when you get in the car,”  Giselle’s mother, Gabriela, said, “You know somebody that ran away for three days, he was hiding and out having a good time with his friends. Posting pictures on Facebook. I’m just disappointed in the justice system.”

Martinez’ family shared Garcia made no effort to apologize and avoided eye contact in the court room, “We all do things wrong in life and we all regret it. We all have the guts to come up and say hey you know what? I’m sorry. It wouldn’t bring her back but it would’ve helped. It would’ve at least shown he’s got remorse but at the end of the day, it comes from the parents,” Giselle’s step-father, Luis Simental, shared.

The El Paso County District Attorney’s Office told KTSM, “Unlike DWI offenses, there is no automatic revocation or suspension of a driver’s license in a failure to render aid in an accident involving death charge.”

Giselle Martinez, 13

As KTSM previously reported, an affidavit said Garcia told a friend he fell asleep while driving before he hit the girl.

“This was not an accident, you did not fall asleep at the wheel,” Gabriela Delgado said. “You know it and God knows it.” 

Garcia said he woke up and saw the girl on the hood of his truck before driving off.

The teenager was arrested on Sept. 10 after he turned himself into the El Paso Police Department.

An arrest warrant had already been obtained following the information that was in the affidavit.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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