Austin’s progressive district attorney is facing criticism in the community after a man who allegedly killed two while committing his 7th DUI is walking the streets after his charges and bond were reduced.
Roberto Rangel, 52, was arrested last year in Travis County, Texas, for his 7th DUI that resulted in the deaths of 22-year-old Kate Garcia and 23-year-old Mark Narvaez, Fox 7 Austin reported.
Rangel, who has been sentenced to over 14 years in prison for DUIs dating to 1989, reportedly pulled out of a Chick-fil-A parking lot in Austin at 2:45 a.m. and parked his car sideways in the road.
A motorcycle crashed into the parked vehicle, killing Narvaez and Garcia. Rangel was reportedly too intoxicated to participate in a sobriety test at the scene.
Fox 7 Austin reported that Rangel’s charge was reduced to DWI a few months after his arrest, and his bond was reduced from $100,000 to $10,000 before he was released. Additionally, Rangel’s bond conditions were eased earlier this year, and his portable alcohol monitor was removed.
“We don’t understand why he’s out,” Elida Zamora, Garcia’s mother, told Fox 7 Austin this week.
“I think that a guy like him is basically making a mockery out of our legal system,” Mark Narvaez’s father, Hector, told the outlet.
News of Rangel’s release sparked intense criticism from Austin locals who say they are fed up with Garza’s progressive agenda.
“A precise example of how DA Jose Garza’s policies are DIRECTLY threatening public safety,” Travis County GOP Chairman Matt Mackowiak posted on X. “Imagine a DA office REDUCING charges for someone arrested for their 6th DUI.”
Austin criminal defense attorney Daniel Betts, who is running as a Republican candidate against Garza for Travis County DA, told Fox News Digital that while Garza’s office did object to lowering Rangel’s bond in July, it should have pushed for a more significant charge than DWI in the first place.
“Yet another example of how every day, in every way, Jose Garza works to make our community less safe,” Betts said. “While he pays lip service to victims, he fails to protect the community and uphold the law on a multiple homicide, not even bothering to attempt to indict it as anything other than a simple DWI. Travis County has been sold a bill of goods, and it’s time that the voters wake up to reality and show him the door.”
An Austin Police officer who asked to remain anonymous told Fox News Digital officers are “frustrated if not more” because this type of situation happens “day in and day out,” which continues to impact the victims of these tragedies.
“Very avoidable tragedies too often caused by the prosecution side of the house. For the last three years, we have seen that side falter and fail under Jose and Delia Garza’s policies,” the officer said. “It’s time our citizens pay attention, educate themselves and vote for public safety … so they and the visitors of our great city get the public safety they deserve.”
DA Garza has faced criticism in the past for how his office has handled a variety of crimes, including driving drunk. Last year, a man who pleaded guilty to driving drunk in a crash that killed his female passenger was sentenced to 10 days in jail, sparking outrage from many in the community.
“Another example of Travis County prosecutors going easy on violent criminals,” the Austin Police Association, a union representing more than 1,800 Austin Police officers, tweeted in response to the sentence. “Victims lives are marginalized. Where is the justice for the families & loved ones of the victim?”
Dennis Farris, president of the Austin Police Retired Officers Association told Fox News Digital this situation “again proves that this district attorney has no business in office.”
“He has no experience prosecuting cases, and you’ve got somebody who has been arrested for DWI seven times,” Farris said. “He should have been in prison already anyway. He was out, he was driving and he killed two people. And this district attorney has allowed this guy, they didn’t push for a high enough bar to keep this guy in jail.
“This guy should have been charged with murder, not just intoxication manslaughter. He should have been charged with murder. And this guy should not be out walking the streets because he’s been arrested seven times for DWI. He’s got a problem.”
Fox News Digital reached out to Garza’s office for comment but did not receive a response.
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