Rueben Peralta, 36, had been indicted on November 14, 2013 on three counts of intoxicated manslaughter, and was released on bond. When he missed his pre-trial, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The 2011 car accident along U.S. Highway 281 took place when Peralta was driving a car with three passengers, heading southbound toward George West. Peralta switched lanes in his Chevy Tahoe to pass an 18-wheeler when he lost control. According to reports, the vehicle fishtailed and rolled approximately three times before coming to a stop upright in the middle median.
The two female passengers in the back seat, 40-year-old Norma Jean Trujillo and 33-year-old Monica Marie R. Tanguma, both of George West, were ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. The male passenger, 33-year-old Carlos Castillo of Alice, also died at the scene. Peralta was transported to Christus Spohn hospital in Beeville with minor injuries.
Speed was later identified as a factor in the accident. The Chevy Tahoe was traveling at 75 mph at the time of the wreck. The driver denied drinking before the accident, but his blood records were later subpoenaed.
According to the district attorney’s office, the investigation has been ongoing since the accident in 2011, as the office was “still obtaining medical information and victim input.”
Peralta was incarcerated for several years prior to the car accident, on a 2003 conviction of assault with a deadly weapon. The charge against him of three counts of manslaughter was enhanced due to his blood-alcohol level, as well as the assault with a deadly weapon charge on his record. He remained in custody this week in Live Oak County jail in lieu of $250,000 bond. His trial dates are being reset.
Lindsey Shaffer is the regional editor and can be reached at 786-3022 or at regional@mySouTex.com.