Crime

Affidavit: Driver in deadly hit-and-run admitted to replacing car's shattered windshield

EL PASO, Texas - The alleged hit-and-run driver blamed for a man's death in Northeast El Paso allegedly told police he did not stop to render aid because he panicked. The man allegedly replaced his vehicle's shattered windshield after the wreck, a criminal complaint obtained by ABC-7 states. 

Police charged 23-year-old Jorge Benjamin Meza, of Chaparral, New Mexico, with Accident Involving Death for the collision that claimed the life of Juan Manuel Pasillas, 47.

The collision happened on the 10300 block of Dyer, near Sun Valley, at about 1:10 a.m. on January 26, 2019. Police said a preliminary investigation revealed Pasillas was walking west on Sun Valley and crossed at the Dyer intersection. Police said Pasillas walked against the red light, failing to yield the right of way to traffic travelling on Dyer with a green light. 

Pasillas was struck by the driver of a 2006 Nissan Sentra, later identified as Meza. Police said Meza failed to stop and render aid at the scene. The collision was caught by surveillance cameras installed at a nearby business, the criminal complaint states. Pasillas died at the scene, police said.  

According to investigators, Pasillas was accompanied by two other pedestrians at the time of the collision but they too left the scene, abandoning Pasillas after he was struck. Police did not say whether Pasillas was intoxicated. 

Minutes later, Pasillas was run over by a second driver traveling south on Dyer, police said.  When police arrived at the scene, they found Pasillas underneath a Dodge Challenger.  It appeared he had been dragged by the Challenger, a court document states.

The driver of the Challenger, not yet identified by police, said he was unaware he had struck someone with his car until it felt like his car had a flat tire, the court document states. He pulled over to the right curb to inspect his tires and realized a body was stuck underneath his car, the document further states. 

The driver of the Challenger was not charged.

Police said Meza showed up at El Paso Police headquarters with his attorney on January 28, 2019, two days after the deadly hit-and-run. 

Meza agreed to a recorded police interview, documents state, in which he allegedly told police he ran over Pasillas, but left the scene because he panicked. Meza told police he had the green light and the right of way, a claim later confirmed by police. 

The document further states Meza allegedly told police his Nissan Sentra suffered damage to its hood and windshield. Further, Meza allegedly told police he had already replaced the shattered windshield with a brand new one. The document states Meza told police they could visit his home and find the original, shattered windshield next to the Nissan Sentra. 

At the time of his arrest, Meza was booked into the El Paso County Jail on a bond totaling $15,000. 


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