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A 21-year-old Weslaco man was arrested on Nov. 27 for striking and killing a cyclist with a vehicle that he was borrowing in late September.
Humberto Garza was charged with crash involving death after a police investigation revealed he took his friend’s truck, drove it after a night of drinking in downtown McAllen and hit Rames Gonzalez Jr., killing him, according to a probable cause affidavit.
At about 8:36 a.m. on Sept. 23, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper was dispatched to an auto-pedestrian crash north of Weslaco.
Upon arrival, the trooper saw Gonzalez’s body lying on the west side of the road with a bicycle nearby and no other vehicles nearby.
As the trooper investigated the scene, a witness approached him and stated he was traveling southbound when he saw Gonzalez traveling northbound off the roadway on the west side of Mile 4 West near Palos Nuevos Drive.
The witness stated he went around Gonzalez, but noticed a black pickup truck traveling behind him when he heard a loud sound. He continued driving but grew concerned and returned to the scene where he learned that what he had heard was the black truck hitting Gonzalez.
Another witness stated they were throwing out the trash when he observed Gonzalez’s body on the ground and promptly called 911.
EMS told the trooper that Gonzalez died at the scene.
Authorities managed to obtain a surveillance video depicting a black truck traveling southbound on Mile 4 West at a high rate of speed, which was released to news media for publication to help find the vehicle.
The next day, DPS Communications Weslaco received a tip of a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle. The tipster identified himself as the stepfather of the person who owned the suspected black Toyota Tundra.
Enrique Charles, the owner of the Tundra TRD, contacted DPS and said he was willing to cooperate.
“At the time, [Enrique] Charles sounded excited and stated the vehicle involved was likely his due to the Toyota being damaged on the right front passenger side and looking precisely like the one on the news,” the affidavit said.
Enrique Charles drove the truck to the DPS office in order to process the vehicle at the DPS Crime Lab garage.
Authorities also interviewed several people who knew Garza and stated that they were present when Garza admitted to driving the Toyota during the crash.
One interviewee, Angel Charles, stated that he was with Garza the night before the accident and added that they were at downtown McAllen where Garza was drinking before heading to an apartment in Weslaco.
Angel Charles told someone named Andre P. Villela III to drop off Garza at Angel Charles’ mom’s house.
It was at this residence when Garza asked Villela for the keys to his vehicle, but Villela told him to go to sleep in order to sober up.
Later that morning, Villela stated he had multiple missed calls from Garza but answered one at around 8:09 a.m. where Garza told Villela that he was in a truck.
When Villela asked Garza who’s truck he was in, there was 10 seconds of silence. Garza said he had dropped the phone, but when Villela asked for the truth, Garza only stated he didn’t know what happened.
In October, authorities were able to determine that Garza was near the scene of the crash using cell phone records, according to the affidavit.
Garza was arrested on Nov. 27 and released the following day on a $5,000 bond.