Driver charged in death of prom-goer appears in court

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A suspected drunk driver accused of killing a teenager on her way home from the prom faced a judge today for the first time.

Edin Palacios, 26, was charged in the death of 18-year-old Jocelynn Valero.

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There is a growing memorial at the intersection where a teen was killed returning from prom with her date.

Houston Police say Palacios was running from police when his pickup truck struck the car carrying Valero and her prom date.

Prosecutors allege his blood alcohol was almost double the legal limit.

Suspected drunk driver charged in death of prom-goer

Valero died at the scene of the violent crash, while her date was transported the hospital for surgery. He survived the wreck along with Palacios, who only had minor injuries.

Just down the street from the courthouse, Valero's classmates are getting ready for college signing day. She was supposed to be there, too.

"We were best friends, we knew everything about each other. It's kind of hard for us to be here today because we both wanted her to be here," said Valero's classmate, Olivia Carlos.

The victim's sister and cousins described the teen as having a big smile and an even bigger heart.

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The victim's family says she had hopes to go to college after graduation.

Valero was nominated for prom queen by classmates at Yes Prep North Central campus.

"She had a bright future ahead of her," Valero's sister Analisa Valero says. "This isn't fair. I'm angry. I wanted to see her get married, I wanted to see her have kids."

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A student from KIPP Academy has died in a crash in north Houston

Palacios is charged with murder and evading arrest. Palacios got bond conditions, but not bond was set today because a visiting judge presided.
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