By HEATHER CATHLEEN COX
A married couple from Brownsville, under the guidance of their attorney, have turned themselves over to local authorities for their alleged involvement in an Aug. 10 hit-and-run incident that left 23-year-old Richard Garcia Mata of San Benito dead.
At 3:33 a.m. on Sunday, officers with the San Benito Police Department responded to West Expressway 83 in reference to an unconscious male – later identified as Mata – who sustained multiple injuries in the hit-and-run. Mata was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
On Tuesday, authorities confirmed the make and model of the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run incident, which resulted in obtaining arrest warrants for Luis Humberto Cardenas and his wife Karina Zuniga Cardenas of Brownsville.
Authorities reported at a Friday press conference that the black 2014 Chevy Silverado Texas edition truck belonging to the Cardenases showed signs of disrepair and recent replacement of the front grill. Additional evidence police gathered in the Cardenas’ garage further revealed evidence allegedly linking their vehicle to the hit-and-run fatality.
Four warrants were issued for the couple at two apiece, and they turned themselves in to San Benito police at 2 p.m. on Friday.
At Friday’s magistration, Precinct 3, Place 2 Justice of the Peace David Garza set bonds as follows for the husband: failure to report a felony (class A misdemeanor) and tampering with evidence (third degree felony). For the wife, who was reportedly driving the truck the night of the incident, bonds were set as: tampering with evidence (third degree felony) and accident involving death (second degree felony). Their bonds totaled $175,000 for the husband and $225,000 for the wife.
The Cardenas’ attorney, Michael P. Trejo of Brownsville, refused comment on whether his clients would be posting bond. If they do not post bond, they will be detained at Cameron County jail.
Authorities said they planned to notify the family of the victim as soon as possible.
As of press time Friday, there has been no official word about whether the Cardenases have a previous criminal history.
SBPD Assistant Operations Chief Michael Galvan said, “We still want to know where they were coming from, and where they were going” on the evening in question.
Galvan further commended his department, saying, “My hat is off to all detectives (and others) assisting in this case.”
The reason Mata was walking alone on the expressway remains unclear.