Travis County's worst DWI offender in jail

AUSTIN -- The Austin Police Department's worst DWI offender is in jail, according to the Travis County Sheriff's Office.

Francisco Perez-Altamirano was arrested Nov. 3 by immigration services on a DWI charge.

Emily Mendoza couldn't be more happy. In 2008, Perez-Altamirano hit Mendoza's car. Dash camera video shows him failing his sobriety test.

"I just didn't think that he'd ever get caught," said Mendoza. Him getting caught is just great news."

Since 2001, officers have arrested Perez-Altamirano nine times. In most cases, his blood alcohol level measured at least twice the legal limit.

"It's absurd," said Officer Bridgett Cumminskey. Perez-Altamirano rear-ended her car at a stop light in 2010. "I don't understand, and frankly, it's kind of disgusting."

This past June, Austin police arrested Perez-Altamirano for his ninth DWI. A KVUE Defenders investigation uncovered authorities somehow allowed Perez-Altamirano to bond out of jail following his arrest. He was missing until his arrest in November.

RELATED: Travis County's worst DWI offender bonds out, now missing

Travis County Pretrial Services prepared an investigative summary for the judge before she approved the bond. On one side, it clearly shows he's had three or more prior incarcerations. On the back, it shows his long DWI history, the many aliases he's used and indicated he is in the U.S. illegally from Mexico.

The county recommended no bond. Perez-Altamirano paid a small administrative fee and then walked out of the Travis County Jail.

Municipal court judge Beverly Landers approved the bond. She claimed she didn't know Perez-Altamirano's real identity until KVUE showed her.

"A lot of things would have been different," said Landers. "If I knew that by the time the officer brought the charge to me, it would not have been filed as a Class A misdemeanor. Not on my watch."

"In my opinion, somebody dropped the ball here," said Stephen Stewart, chairman of Mothers Against Drunk Driving's advisory board in Central Texas.

"We can't have things like this happening in our system," said Stewart.

"It's gonna be safer streets with one less drunk driver behind the wheel," said Mendoza.

He is in the Travis County Jail in an immigration and naturalization service detainer. He is not able to post his $75,000 bond.

Travis County Pretrial Service said it's currently reviewing its bonding process with judges to prevent releasing similar offenders in the future.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment