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Brownwood hit-and-run suspect took part in pretrial diversion donation program

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - Brownwood police arrested Samuel Juarez Saturday for allegedly hitting and killing an eight-year-old boy. Juarez was charged with intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid, according to police.

Though he remains in jail on a $300,000 bond for his most recent offenses, this wasn't Juarez's first incident related to drunk driving.

Daylan Franklin was struck by Juarez's car as he was playing outside, according to his mother Venessa Franklin. KTXS visited the Brown County Clerk's Office to dig deeper into Juarez's criminal record.

In 2001, Juarez booked for a Driving While Intoxicated charge, according to court documents. In 2003 and 2006, Juarez entered into pretrial diversion agreements with Brown County Attorney Shane Britton's office. That program, which allows defendants to make a donation for a lesser charge, is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In 2006 Juarez was arrested for driving while intoxicated, but the charge was dismissed for several reasons, including "lost evidence," according to the document.

He was instead charged with an open container. Court records show he paid $500 and it was then dismissed.

Juarez's case was also dismissed three years earlier when, according to court documents, he fulfilled the pretrial diversion agreement. KTXS couldn't independently verify a record of Juarez's payment at the clerk's office for this disposition.

An employee at Britton's office said he wasn't available Monday. When asked why Juarez was able to participate in the pretrial diversion program, the employee denied Juarez's involvement.

When presented with evidence of the 2003 and 2006 pretrial diversion agreements, the employee declined to comment any further.

Britton's pretrial diversion program was discussed during a county commissioners meeting Monday after Brown County resident Joe Cooksey requested a public comment on it.

"It's premature to be making decisions," County Judge Ray West said. "Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, it's premature for the commissioners to be making any statements what's so ever."

"Are you refusing to take my public comments on this issue?" Cooksey asked West.

"Yes, I am," West replied.

West ordered Cooksey to leave the meeting and said that his court doesn't have to hear comments on items not listed on the agenda.

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