San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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August 25th, 2008
Kyle man convicted in death of firefighter

On August 22 a Hays County jury convicted Rolando Ramirez Jr. of Intoxication Manslaughter relating to the 2007 death of an Austin firefighter. Ramirez, age 26 of Kyle, will be sentenced next month by Judge Bill Henry. According to testimony Ramirez was driving a Honda Civic south on Interstate 35 in Buda in the early morning hours of March 2, 2007 when he lost control of his vehicle. As a result he struck a motorcycle being driven by Guillermo “Benny” Balderama also of Kyle. Mr. Balderama died as a result of injuries sustained during the crash. Mr. Ramirez refused to perform field sobriety tests at the scene. A later test placed his blood-alcohol content at .24.

The defendant’s attorney, Amber Bode-Vasquez, conceded that her client was intoxicated but maintained that his conduct was not the cause of the collision. First Assistant District Attorney Fred Weber argued that Mr. Ramirez’s intoxication caused him to overcorrect his vehicle after he ran off the road. While overcorrecting Mr. Ramirez crossed into the middle lane of traffic striking Mr. Balderama’s motorcycle. After deliberating for approximately 3 hours the jury found Mr. Ramirez guilty of the offense.

Mr. Balderama was a 5 year veteran of the Austin Fire Department. The trial was attended by a number of his co-workers and family members.

Intoxication Manslaughter is a second degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Criminal District Attorney Sherri Tibbe praised the verdict and urged everyone to remember the dangers of drinking and driving as the Labor Day weekend approaches.

For additional information or questions please contact First Assistant District Attorney Fred Weber at (512) 393-7600 or

From Hays County Justice Center

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