RIO VISTA, TX (WFAA) – The suspect in a horrific drunk driving accident that claimed the life of a young mother has now drawn the attention of federal immigration officials.
Candido Martinez-Ramirez, 32, is in a Johnson County jail cell after recently being arrested for intoxication manslaughter by Rio Vista police.
Chief David Niederhaus said Ramirez was drunk when his pick-up truck collided with an SUV on Texas 174 two weeks ago.
The driver of that SUV, Jenifer Smith, was killed at the scene.
“We moved quickly with the DA on this to get a warrant,” Niederhaus told WFAA on Thursday.
He said Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers also interviewed Ramirez, and placed a “hold” on him after determining he was undocumented and here illegally.
Coworkers of Smith, a mother of two boys, said the usually bustling diner she ran at a local Shell gas station in Cleburne isn’t the same.
“You can spend your whole day with someone, even your whole life, and they’re just gone like that,” Sheri Rhoudes said.
Rhoudes is now in charge of the kitchen at the spot on W. Industrial Avenue.
She said they’ve left up Jenifer’s schedule, photos, and have yet to erase the last daily “special” she wrote on a dry erase board.
“We’re going to keep that there in her memory,” said Rhoudes.
So far, close to $3,000 has been raised to help the two boys.
Jenifer was on the way to pick them up from school when the accident occurred. “She wasn’t even five minutes away,” said Rhoudes.
Jenifer’s sister, Chaycee Maxwell, provided WFAA with some photos of the 33-year-old and said in a brief statement:
“She is an amazing person, a wonderful mother of two who love and miss her dearly. She is missed very deeply by her parents, her siblings, and many many friends of hers. We’re devastated by this tragedy and are trying to get through each day one day at a time.”
A memorial service was held on Saturday.
If anyone wants to donate to Jenifer’s family, they can stop by Junction at the Shell station on 102 W. Industrial in Cleburne.
Ramirez has a $200,000 bond on the intoxication manslaughter by vehicle charge, but continues to face the immigration detainer, as well.