EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An El Paso family is seeking more than $1 million after one of their family members was killed in an alleged drunk driving crash in August 2021.
According to the El Paso Police Department, 67-year-old Guadalupe Ruben Ramos was driving east on I-10 in a 2005 Hyundai Elantra.
As he slowed down for traffic, his vehicle was rear-ended and nearly destroyed by a 2019 Subaru, driven by 37-year-old Vitalia Soto. Police believe alcohol and speed were factors in the crash.
At a news conference held outside of the El Paso County Courthouse on Tuesday, the Ramos family along with their attorneys, announced the lawsuit against Vitalia Soto and Harmony Biosciences, LLC – the company that employed Soto and provided her a company vehicle to use for work.
Ruben Ramos, Guadalupe’s son said that he will miss everything about his father,
“Everything, everything, everything. He’s the type of guy that would cook for you no matter what. Hey you guys hungry? He would say that with family, with everybody. He was a hard worker, a loving man. Strangers would stop him on the streets and compliment him on his attitude. After his death I got several calls saying you don’t know me but I knew your dad, he gave me a job when I didn’t have one, he fed me when I didn’t have one.”
Steven Stewart, one of the attorneys representing the Ramos family, said that Soto should have not been allowed to operate a company vehicle, because he said, the State of Texas listed her as a habitual traffic offender due to her driving record,
“This is a driver that should not have been in a company car. This is a driver that should not have been driving at the time and we think that the evidence is going very clearly demonstrate 100% of that…When you have a habitual offender and you’re giving them keys to a company vehicle, bad things can happen. We believe the peers of the community will very clearly ring a justice bell for this family.”Attorney Steven Stewart
According to BuyAutoInsurance.com, El Paso ranks third on the list as one of the most dangerous cities in the nation for drunk driving with 2,725 people are arrested each year for DUI.
Laura Adams, The Senior Analyst for BuyAutoInsurance.com says that on average insurance rates rise about 50% after a DUI, but in El Paso, that rate only increases 34% which, she said, could be a contributing factor for the high rate of DUI in El Paso.
“Those cities where the penalties are higher really can make a big difference…the enforcement also of those penalties and those fines can make a big difference. “
Adams also noted that cities in Texas fill up four out of the top five spots on the worst cities in the nation for DUI.
According to Vanessa Marquez with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Guadalupe Ramos never should have been killed.
“Drunk driving is a 100% preventable crime. It takes individuals to plan before, but every crash, every injury every death that occurs is 100% preventable. Seeing it happen year after year is really crushing,” Marquez adds.
The Ramos family hopes justice is served but also wants to send out a warning to others about the dangers of drinking and driving.
As for the Ramos family, they said that even though they will have their day in court, it will not bring their ‘loving treasure’ back.
“The hardest, it’s still hard, but the hardest will be the first month and I think it just keeps going. Everybody keeps telling me this is a battle that never ends,”
Ruben adds that if his father was still here today, he’d have one simple thing to say.
“That I love him, but he did the absolute best he could and he deserves heaven and peace.”