Palmview man arraigned in neighbor’s fiance’s ejection death

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Jeffrey Charles Stephens

A Palmview man faced a judge on Thursday in the 2022 death of his neighbor’s fiance, who was ejected from the man’s vehicle while giving them a ride home, court records show.

Jeffrey Charles Stephens, 45, was booked Aug. 2, 2022 for intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and on two counts of intoxication assault with a vehicle. His charges stem from a July 31, 2022 crash involving three vehicles.

Palmview police responded to the crash, located at the intersection of La Homa Road and U.S. Business Highway 83, at around 10 p.m. that evening and found that a blue Ford Focus, a white Chrysler 300 and a silver 1998 Mercedes-Benz ML320 had been involved in a car wreck.

Occupants of the Focus and Chrysler told police that the Mercedes ran a stop sign and crashed into the former, which was traveling westbound on the highway and approaching the intersection with La Homa Road.

The driver of the Mercedes, identified as Stephens, was heading north on Scott Lane at the time.

The Chrysler’s driver said he witnessed the collision, the impact of which sent the Mercedes spinning around the road, hitting the witness’ Chrysler. This witness, who was on his way to a dinner with a friend after church, also saw a man ejected from the Mercedes upon impact, according to a probable cause affidavit.

That man was Victor Jesus Garcia, Stephens’ neighbor’s fiance. Stephens told police he was helping his neighbor pick up her fiance from Garcia’s home.

Stephens had just returned from picking him up and together with his neighbor were all on their way back to Stephens’ apartment, located in the 2600 block of North Moorefield Road, when the crash occurred.

Garcia died at the hospital from his injuries due to being ejected from the Mercedes.

Police said in the affidavit that Stephens voluntarily provided a breath specimen which tested at double the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration, between 0.164 and 0.166.

Released on $50,000 in total bonds on Aug. 5, 2022, Stephens was indicted by a Hidalgo County grand jury on June 29, arraigned Thursday and now has a pretrial hearing set for November.