'Failure to stop, render aid' indictment returned in death
A 31-year-old Rockdale man was indicted for failure to stop and render aid Thursday in connection with the March 13 highway death of Thorndale High School senior Rudy Carranza.
Spears said failure to stop and render aid was the charge she brought to the grand jury and the only charge she considered after studying Gaston's report on the incident.
"In Texas, there is no such thing as involuntary manslaughter anymore," Spears said. "The only thing similar is criminally negligent homicide which is a state jail felony. Failure to stop and render aid is a more serious charge."
Jeter was formally charged with the offense on Monday
Failure to stop and render aid is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a term of 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Carranza's body wasn't discovered alongside FM 486, one mile north of Thorndale, until daylight the next morning when a passer-by saw a body and reported it to the sheriff's department.
Thorndale volunteer firefighters, the Department of Public safety and Justice of the Peace Gary Northcott responded.
Northcott pronounced Carranza dead at the scene from multiple injuries.
"While we were at the scene Mr. Jeter drove up," Gaston said.
Gaston said Jeter believed he had struck a deer in the dark, between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m. the previous night, and did not stop.
Gaston said toxicology reports were not part of the investigation.
"That wasn't possible because of the time involved," Gaston told The Reporter. "I did not inter view Mr. Jeter until 12 hours after the incident at which time a blood alcohol test would not have done much good."
Gaston said Jeter, who was on his way home from Thrall, admitted to drinking "earlier in the evening."
"But there's no way to determine what the level may have been at the time of the accident," Gaston said.
Carranza was walking home when the accident occurred, Gaston said.