Man arrested in fatal drunken driving wreck had extensive criminal history


Victoria police arrested and charged a Victoria man with intoxication manslaughter and evading arrest after he was involved in a fatal car wreck Thursday morning.

Christopher Cordil-Cortinas, 23, of Victoria, had three or more previous driving while intoxicated convictions and was on probation when he attempted to outrun police about 2:40 a.m. Thursday. He is accused of running a red light at the intersection of Houston Highway and North Ben Wilson Street and colliding with a tan Buick, killing the driver, Cynthia Partida, 43, of Victoria.

Partida was pronounced dead at Citizens Medical Center, said Lt. Caleb Breshears. Cortinas is in stable condition at the hospital, a spokeswoman said.

"There must be severe consequences for the life he took, his actions and lack of responsibility," said Michelle Tichenor-Mukai, a cousin of Partida's. "He took a grandmother, mother, sister, cousin, daughter and so much more from our family."

Cortinas's criminal past goes back to 2007 and includes felony drunken driving charges, probation violations and felony drug possession.

As recently as Tuesday, he was arrested and charged with a probation violation in connection to his felony driving while intoxicated charge.

Cortinas wasn't booked into the county jail Thursday night because of injuries.

Former County Court-at-Law No. 1 Judge Laura Weiser said Cortinas was in her court several times.

She called his criminal record "disturbing."

In 2007, after his first DWI conviction, he served 150 days in jail, Weiser said.

She said Cortinas should have had an ignition interlock device on his vehicle, which would have prevented it from starting Thursday morning if he were intoxicated.

Partida's family believes Cortinas should be charged accordingly to his numerous offenses.

"If this is his fourth DWI, then he should be charged for a felony DWI as well as charged with murder and not intoxication manslaughter," Tichenor-Mukai said.

In 2010, Cortinas was not allowed to walk across the stage at the Memorial High School graduation after being arrested on suspicion of carrying less than 2 ounces of marijuana in a drug-free zone.

He pled guilty to his second DWI in December 2010 and served 60 days in jail. During that wreck, which occurred about 3:20 a.m., he caused an estimated $8,000 worth of damage to two American Electric Power utility poles and $3,000 worth of damage to a chain-link fence owned by Trunkline Gas Co., according to an incident report.

A judge sentenced him to four years probation in July after he pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated on a third offense or more, stemming from an arrest Oct. 22, 2012. He was 22 at the time.

In October, Cortinas was arrested twice - once for driving while intoxicated and again on a warrant charging him with violation of probation and on suspicion of a Class C misdemeanor.

Sara Sneath and Bianca Montes contributed to this report.