Socorro considers crackdown on speeding (2:37 p.m.)
By Adriana M. Chávez / El Paso Times
Article Launched: 01/23/2007 02:22:57 PM MST

City of Socorro officials are proposing a crackdown of speeding motorists in the wake of the recent deaths of two Socorro High School students.

Jesus Xavier Garcia, 17, was killed early Saturday in Horizon City when the red Honda Civic in which he was passenger apparently ran a red light and struck an SUV, Socorro police said.

The driver of the Honda, 17-year-old Miguel Angel Ybańez, was taken to Thomason Hospital in critical condition. Ybańez's mother, Margarita Ybańez, declined comment today. Charges are pending against Miguel Angel Ybańez, police said.

Socorro police said a 19-year-old man who was riding in the Honda told investigators Monday that Ybańez had been racing a gold Dodge Stratus, driven by Isidro Gomez, 23, before the collision at the intersection of Horizon Boulevard and Gateway Boulevard East.

Garcia's death came a week after Adriana Mendoza, 14, was killed after the car in which she was a passenger also ran a red light at the intersection of Joe Battle Boulevard and Pellicano Street, according to El Paso
police. Garcia was a senior at Socorro, while Adriana was a freshman there.

Socorro city councilman Sergio Cox, a former El Paso Police officer, said he has spoken to other council members and city officials about initiating a program in the police department to target speeders.

"We're going to be more aggressive with radar enforcement," Cox said. "These kids are barely learning how to drive. There's no way they can emulate racecar drivers."

Cox said he has asked that Socorro police take a zero tolerance approach to radar enforcement.

"I will ask that both mayor and council members take the approach that if one of their constituents calls them to complain about how they were unfairly given a speeding ticket, that they explain, 'We are doing this in an attempt to save lives,'" Cox said.

Enrique Chavez, owner of the Dezert Demonz Dragway at the West Texas Airport near Horizon City, said he's frustrated with hearing about accidents where racing was involved.

"I'm tired of all these kids crashing and doing these stupid things out there," Chavez said. "It's getting out of hand."

When Chavez learned of Garcia's death, he wondered if it had something to do with the closing of the dragway last weekend because of the weather.

"Sometimes I wonder if it happened because I closed. Sometimes I think it happened because they had no place else to go," Chavez said.

Chavez said he's working on getting sponsors to host a free event at Dezert Demonz one Friday a month.

Garcia's friends and family members were planning to gather for a rosary at Sunset Funeral Home in the Lower Valley tonight.

Garcia's funeral will be at noon today at La Purisima Catholic Church, 328 S. Nevarez. Burial will follow at Evergreen East Cemetery.