A man has been charged in an accident that killed his 6-year-old daughter-in-law on the southwest highway, police say
Paul Rodriguez was charged with murder after Houston police said he was in and out of freeway traffic before colliding with an 18-wheeler with three children in the car.
Zira Longoria was due to turn seven on Wednesday, according to her mother, Sabrina Garcia.
Garcia has two biological sons with Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s turn last weekend was to watch the two kids, ages 2 and 4, but Zira wanted to be included and spent the weekend with her stepfather.
“He raised her since she was little,” Garcia said. “She loved going with him and spending time with him, so I let her go.”
According to court documents, witnesses believed Rodriguez was intoxicated. They followed him while calling 911.
Police said Rodriguez continued to drive after his Honda hit the 18-wheeler. Then he continued hitting a Mercedes and a box truck.
Zira was taken out of the car and thrown onto the highway. She later died in hospital. Court records indicate that a sergeant also believed that Rodriguez was drunk.
A witness said Rodriguez did not check on his stepdaughter while she was lying lifeless on the highway, according to the documents. The witness heard him tell someone that she was not his child.
It’s very sad,” Garcia said, crying. “I trusted him to take care of my baby and bring her home. She doesn’t come home anymore, so it’s tough.”
According to records, Rodriguez was charged with drunken assault and DWI with a child under 15, but those charges were dropped. The county attorney’s office told ABC13 that these charges were filed before he was charged with murder.
Records show that Rodriguez has a criminal history, including seven counts of drug possession over the years.
The boys, who were also in the car, went home with their mother. Police said they sustained cuts and bruises.
Garcia said that being strong for her children is what keeps her going.
Rodriguez’ bond is set at $250,000.
Garcia said he called her from prison to apologize, but now her focus is on her children and her daughter’s funeral arrangements.
family created GoFundMe A page for those who wish to donate.
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