HOUSTON – A Houston man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for driving drunk and killing a mother headed home from her own birthday party.
Daniel Armando Mena, 22, was convicted after a five-day trial. In addition to the 15 years, he was fined $10,000.
The deadly accident happened in August 2017.
The jurors were told how Mena left Diablo Loco Sports Bar, at about 2 a.m., after a long-day of drinking. Security cameras showed him inside the bar mocking make-believe field -sobriety tests and wobbling near pool tables.
Authorities said Mena was driving his pick-up truck the wrong-way when he struck Brenda Moreno’s vehicle in a head-on collision. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said Mena’s blood-alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit.
Morena died on the scene. Mena was uninjured.
“Brenda should be raising her young sons, not buried by them,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “Daniel Mena chose to drink and drive until he could kill an innocent mother in a wrong way wreck,” Ogg continued. “Society will be safe from him while he serves his 15 years.”
Morena was on her way home from an office party before the crash.
During the trail, her husband, Ignacio Moreno, testified how he waited into the early morning hours for his wife to return home. According to HCDAO, he left their boys with their grandmother and drove along her expected route to look for her. He later found Bellaire Police at the crash scene.
Mena had a DWI charge pending at the time of the crash. Jurors were told in court that he had tricked police, so he could keep drinking and driving.
He lied by saying he no longer drove his truck so that he could have a court-ordered ignition interlock device installed on another vehicle, which he did not use.
“This tragic loss of a beautiful wife and mother could have and should have been prevented,” said prosecutor Lynn Nguyen. “Daniel Mena is completely responsible for robbing the Moreno family of Brenda, and I hope he spends every day of his sentence thinking about that.
Mena will not be eligible for parole until he has served 50 percent of his sentence.