Drunk driver back in court

September 30, 2009 6:35:45 AM PDT
A wrecker driver with a history of driving drunk was back in court, just two weeks after pleading guilty in the deaths of two people. The family of the victims can't believe he's facing new charges. It came as a shock to many when earlier this month, Sergio Gonzalez was able to plead guilty to running over an elderly couple and walk out of jail.

But the victims' family hoped that after seeing the pain he caused, he might just learn his lesson. Now they say they were devastated to find out that he has not.

The last time Gonzalez was in court, the family of the couple he plead guilty to killing begged him to change his ways.

"He looked my sister dead in the face and said he would clean up," said Leon Roberson, Jr.

Gonzalez was sentenced to 180 days, time served for criminally negligent homicide. And he walked free. Now, just two weeks later, he's back, charged with drug possession.

"It's a spit in my family's face," said Roberson. "You already got off for killing my parents and you still don't get the picture."

Harris County Prosecutor John Jocher says a Precinct 6 deputy constable pulled Gonzalez over at 2am Monday for failing to signal several turns and discovered a bag of cocaine inside his car.

"I made the judge aware of the fact that Mr. Gonzalez had just gotten out of custody on the previous charge. And I made her aware of what his criminal history was," said Jocher.

That previous history includes at least a dozen arrests since the late 80s on charges of DWI, assault and theft. But it was his most recent conviction, for plowing down Leon and Maurine Roberson as they walked out of church, that Mothers Against Drunk Driving spokesperson Andrea Schmauss believes should have been the final straw.

"That was very devastating. How many chances do you give someone?" asked Schmauss.

Today, a judge finally did clamp down on Gonzalez, ordering him taken into custody, tripling his bond to $50,000 and mandating his cars be outfitted with an ignition interlock, if he ever does make bail.

Those are actions that Roberson wishes someone had taken long ago.

He said, "This man does not belong on the streets. He's going to hurt somebody else's family."

On his current drug possession charge, Gonzalez faces no more than two years behind bars if convicted. The prosecutor says, though, this case will go before a grand jury. If they choose to indict him on a more serious charge, Gonzalez could be looking at up to 20 years behind bars.

The Robersons' deaths led to changes within the city's Safe Clear Program. Gonzalez had a permit despite his criminal history. His application was originally denied, but it was overturned on appeal. The City of Houston now makes the appeals process more difficult. It is also overseen by a Houston Police Department assistant chief, instead of a sergeant.

We will bring you the latest on Gonzalez's next court hearing as well as any developments in his case on Eyewitness News and here on abc13.com.

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