EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Valeria Mena, 24 told police she had been drinking before she allegedly crashed into a vehicle, killing Steven Hernandez, 28 at the intersection of Edgemere and Joe Battle on Sunday, May 21, according to court documents.
Court documents state that Mena was traveling north on Joe Battle and the driver of the other vehicle was traveling east on Edgemere with Hernandez as a front passenger. Police say they reviewed surveillance footage of a nearby business where it was discovered that Mena entered the intersection on a red light, causing a T-bone collision and subsequently killing Hernandez.
After the collision, an officer at the scene obtained Mena’s basic information and noted that she had bloodshot/glossy eyes, slowed reactions to questions, unsteady balance, and detected an odor from “an unknown alcoholic beverage emitting from her breath and person,” according to court documents.
Court documents state that Mena was asked about what happened with the collision to which she stated, “I don’t know.” The officer at the scene then advised Mena that they could smell alcohol, to which she replied, “I know.” The officer then asked Mena what she was drinking, and she replied, “whiskey.” Mena was asked if she was drinking any beer to which she replied, “Yeah sure.” The officer then asked Mena if she had any shots, to which she replied, “yeah” and stated “everything” when asked what kind of shots.
The officer at the scene had Mena perform a “walk and turn test” to which she had reportedly failed to maintain her balance during the instructional stage and stated, “Let’s be honest, yes I’ve been drinking. Yes, I’ve been drunk, yes,” according to court documents.
Mena then refused to perform the next two tests and agreed to have her blood drawn. Mena was then transported to the El Paso Police Department headquarters to which she provided a voluntary statement in which said that she went to a rave at a club at around 10 p.m. in far West El Paso and stated that at the club she drank “three Vodka Red Bulls,” according to court documents.
The statement then continued that Mena left the club and attempted to drive home. According to court documents, Mena did not recall any of the details about the collision and has been charged with intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle, according to court documents.
As KTSM has previously reported, Mena was found to have two prior DWI convictions in 2020 and 2022.