A judge has granted conditional release to the driver of a car in which four passengers died in a high-speed crash in Mexico City more than two years ago.
Carlos Salomón Villuendas was behind the wheel of a BMW 6 series coupe on March 31, 2017 when he veered off the Paseo de la Reforma avenue and struck a metal post at around 180 kilometers per hour.
Two men and two women, all aged in their 20s or early 30s, were killed in the accident that split the vehicle in two.
Salomón, whom a judge determined was under the influence of alcohol when the crash occurred even though no blood or urine samples were taken, was the sole survivor.
In January last year he was sentenced to nine years and six months in jail on charges of aggravated homicide and ordered to pay just over 1.4 million pesos in compensation to the families of three of the four victims.
Shortly after the accident, Salomón claimed that he didn’t have the resources to pay compensation because he worked at a palatería, or popsicle shop, owned by his sister and made no more than 1,000 pesos (about US $50) a month.
However, the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office (PGJ) said on Monday that he has now paid compensation to all of the victims’ families, paving the way for his conditional release.
Salomón paid each family 377,450 pesos (US $19,800) in damages for the death of their family member as well as an additional 56,685 pesos (US $3,000) to cover funeral expenses and to compensate for non-material damage.
In addition to the payment of reparations, the judge took into account Salomón’s record of good behavior in prison and the fact that he was a first-time offender.
Under the terms of his release, Salomón must remain under house arrest and wear an ankle bracelet. He is forbidden from consuming alcohol and illicit drugs.
The PGJ requested a period of five days to prepare an appeal to the judge’s decision during which time Salomón will remain in prison.
If the judge rejects the appeal presented by public prosecutors, the 35-year-old convicted murderer will be released.