20-year-old gets probation for intoxication manslaughter, assault

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A 20-year-old DeKalb, Texas, man accused of causing the death of one passenger and injuring three others when he crashed into a tree on a Bowie County highway in January 2016 received a 10-year probation Friday.

Isidro Mariano appeared with Texarkana attorney Bart Craytor for sentencing Friday morning before 5th District Judge Bill Miller. The family of 18-year-old Candace Vernon was in agreement with the state’s offer of probation for Mariano, Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards said.

Mariano was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, complete 240 hours of community service and must abstain from alcohol and drugs while on probation. Mariano’s driver’s license will be suspended for six months and when he does drive, his car must be outfitted with an ignition interlock device.

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At the end of the hearing, Vernon’s mother declined to read a prepared victim impact statement but her father encouraged Mariano to use the tragedy for good.

“Candace died because of your sin but Jesus died for yours,” Vernon’s father said.

Mariano smashed the Honda Accord he was driving into a tree Jan. 10, 2016, at approximately 4:20 a.m. after failing to stop at the intersection of County Road 4255 and U.S. Highway 259, according to a probable cause affidavit. No other cars were involved in the accident.

Vernon died at the scene. Three other passengers were injured and taken to area hospitals for treatment. One of the passengers told a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper that Mariano was intoxicated. Results of testing on Mariano’s blood collected after the crash showed a .086 level of alcohol and the presence of Midazolam, a benzodiazepene in the same class of drugs as Valium and Xanax.

Troopers observed an open container of alcohol in the front center console and detected the odor of alcohol coming from the car.

If Mariano violates the conditions of his probation, he faces the possibility of up to 10 years in prison.

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