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Teens charged in fatal accident

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Charges have been filed against two teenage students involved in a crash in northwest Harris County that killed a mother and her two children. Two teenagers are facing three felony charges each in the September crash that killed a mother and her two kids and the district attorney's office is disputing how fast one of the teenagers says he was going.

Just days after the fatal crash on North Gessner at Brookriver, the 17-year-old behind the wheel, Christopher Yovino, told Eyewitness News he wasn't going that fast.

"Middle 50s, probably 50 miles per hour," Yovino said. "(Speeding) just a little."

But, the Harris County District Attorney's Office says that's not true and that Yovino and his best friend were racing.

"They were going 93 miles per hour according to what our expert reconstructionist has told us, 93 in a 40 mile per hour zone," said Catherine Evans with the Harris County DA's Office.

Yovino's Chevy Tahoe hit a minivan driven by Mayra Torres. She and her 14-year-old son Christopher Nuno died on impact. Six-year-old Katya, who was also in the van, died later at the hospital.

Investigators say Yovino's gas pedal had been 100 percent depressed before the crash.

Harris County Sheriff's deputies arrested Brett Taylor at Windfern High School. He's Yovino's best friend and the teenager behind the wheel of the car Yovino was said to be racing. Yovino turned himself into authorities. Both teens are facing three felony counts each of racing causing death, although they have maintained their innocence.

Sgt. Susan Cotter with the Harris County Sheriff's Office said, "They denied racing."

Cotter added the boys didn't seem that concerned by what happened.

Meantime, the assistant district attorney in the case says Yovino and Taylor should be a cautionary tale for other young drivers.

"We want the kids in the area who think racing is a game to understand that it's not and there are deadly consequences to it," Evans said.

The charge of racing causing death is a second degree felony, and carries a possible punishment of 2 to 20 years and a $10,000 fine.

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