By VALERIE GONZALEZ and MARK REAGAN
HIDALGO — An off-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent accused of striking and killing a 71-year-old cyclist with his vehicle and fleeing the scene was arrested over the weekend, records reveal.
At about 5 a.m. Saturday, a Hidalgo Police Department sergeant on patrol found the body of a man later identified as Humberto Torres Iracheta, 71, face down on a roadway near the 600 block of East Coma St. in Hidalgo, a probable cause affidavit in the case stated.
Investigators believe Border Patrol Agent Francisco Javier Vallejo struck the man, fled the scene and later reported the collision to his supervisors.
Iracheta’s body, which was found about 100 feet away from his mangled blue bicycle, was left mutilated by the collision, according to the affidavit which described in gruesome detail the extent of his injuries.
Hidalgo Investigations Division processed the scene and found evidence of a Ford vehicle: green fiberglass and green paint transferred to the bicycle. Surveillance video from a nearby business in the 400 block of East Coma Street was obtained.
The video showed Iracheta traveling north to south at an angle on Coma Street.
“When approaching the eastbound outer lane, a pick-up truck strikes him,” the complaint read.
Three minutes after the impact, the police sergeant arrived at the scene.
An investigator received a call from a special agent working for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Personal Responsibility, informing him that a Border Patrol agent, Vallejo, was involved in an auto-pedestrian crash.
A CBP supervisor confirmed to the investigator they had received a call from Vallejo admitting he had hit a cyclist in the city of Hidalgo and believed the cyclist had died, according to the affidavit. It’s unclear, however, how long it took Vallejo to report the collision.
Vallejo did admit he went to his ex-wife’s home after the crash and spent time with her and their children.
He was arrested Saturday and charged with accident involving death, a second-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Vallejo was released the following day on a $100,000 bond.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement about the collision Monday afternoon.
“On April 24, 2021, a Border Patrol Agent assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Sector was arrested by the Hidalgo Police Department for an alleged off-duty vehicle accident that caused a death,” the statement read. “The Rio Grande Valley Sector is committed to cooperating with any criminal or administrative investigation of alleged misconduct involving Border Patrol personnel, on or off duty. CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the United States Border Patrol are fully cooperating with the investigation. For any further information, please contact the Hidalgo Police Department.”