Mission man who caused deadly smuggling crash convicted

Only have a minute? Listen instead
Mario Oscar Corona Maldonado

A 35-year-old Mission man on Monday pleaded guilty to two counts of murder for a deadly smuggling crash that happened the day after Thanksgiving in 2021.

Mario Oscar Corona Maldonado, who has remained in the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center since his arrest following the crash, also pleaded guilty to one count of evading arrest, court records indicate.

He had been facing a 26-count indictment for the deadly crash that happened at about 8:03 a.m. on Nov. 26, 2021 on Jara China Road north of Farm-to-Market Road 2221, which is north of La Joya.

Court records indicate he reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Scene from a fatal crash that occurred at about 8:03 a.m. Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, on Jara Chinas Road north of Farm-to-Market Road 2221. (Courtesy Photo)

On the day of the crash, the Texas Department of Public Safety attempted to pull the black F-150 Maldonado was driving over after obtaining information that the vehicle was possibly picking up 20 people who entered the country illegally.

“The vehicle traveled northbound onto a dirt road where the driver later lost control of his vehicle and had a roll-over crash,” a probable cause affidavit for his arrest stated.

The crash killed Jose Angel Ramirez Lopez and Roberto Leon Feliciano, according to the indictment.

They were in the bed of the truck, according to the initial news release from DPS.

Maldonado and nine other people were taken to hospitals following the crash.

He is scheduled for sentencing in late October, court records show.