A few hours after the fireworks ended early New Year's Day, Arturo Julian Ibarra was driving drunk when he lost control of his Mitsubishi Eclipse, Dallas police say. He slammed into a Nissan Pathfinder, sending it hurtling down an embankment and seriously injuring its driver.
Officers soon discovered that the 39-year-old Irving man had been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated before. But that wasn't the striking thing about their new case.
Fifteen years ago while driving drunk, Ibarra caused a crash that killed his wife and their 22-month-old son - a fact that shocked the daughter of the woman injured in Thursday's crash.
"He cannot be on the road," said Angelica Cisneros, whose mother, 59-year-old Blanca Rendon, was driving the Pathfinder and suffered internal and head injuries. "You mean to tell me the first accident he killed his family, and he didn't learn the lesson?"
Rendon had just been at a New Year's Eve party and was driving along Stemmons Freeway toward her daughter's house about 3:45 a.m., when Ibarra's car struck her from behind near West Mockingbird Lane, police said.
"The next thing she remembered is somebody hitting her so hard from the back," Cisneros said. Police say Rendon's Pathfinder flipped multiple times down an embankment.
"We had to thank God that she was still alive," said Rendon's daughter, who rushed to the scene. "Because the way that accident looked, it seems like she should have been dead."
Police say Ibarra fled the scene, but officers soon caught up with him about a half-mile south of the crash. They booked him into the Dallas County Jail on charges of DWI and leaving the scene of a crash involving injury. He was being held Friday, with bail set at $90,000.
"At least my mom is not dead," Cisneros said.
On Oct. 30, 1993, Ibarra's own family wasn't as lucky.
Witnesses said his 1983 Ford LTD was weaving in and out of traffic before it stopped in the southbound lanes of Interstate 35E, near Merrell Road. Another vehicle hit the Ford from behind, pushing it into other lanes where it was struck again.
Ibarra's wife, 34-year-old Maria Ocoha, was thrown from the Ford and pronounced dead at the scene.
Their son, Arturo Ibarra Jr., was critically injured when the Ford rolled over on the freeway. He died later at Parkland Memorial Hospital.
Ibarra pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and received a five-year prison sentence. He was granted supervised release in 1996.
"They need to put him back in jail," said Cisneros, who said her mother was in pain but recovering after her release from Parkland.