The trial for Raul Salazar, Jr., 39, on three counts of vehicular homicide due to driving while intoxicated, has been delayed until Sept. 29.

Court records indicate that Salazar’s pickup was traveling at 80 miles per hour or more on the gravel of 16th Avenue southeast of Keystone when he crossed Highway 30 and his truck hit collided with a sedan, breaking the car in half, on the evening of Aug. 10, 2013.

Declared dead at the scene were the driver of that car, Valerie Ann Schneiders, 22; and her passengers Jason C. Bessert, 24; and Hailey R. Bessert, age 3, all of Cedar Rapids.

Witnesses reported seeing the occupants of the truck attempting to hide bottles of beer in a field immediately after the accidents. Officers investigating the scene found cold beer at the site.

Salazar, originally from Texas, was booked on three counts of vehicular homicide and released on a $75,000 bond; less than two weeks later, he appeared intoxicated at a probation officer’s office in Fort Dodge. Surveillance camera footage indicated that Salazar had driven there.

According to court record’s Salazar blood alcohol content level after the accident was .133; at the Fort Dodge correction facility, his BAC was .127

After that incident, Salazar was jailed for violating his terms of release. The court increased his bond by $500,000; he has remained in the Benton County Jail since then.

“There is still a lot of work for the attorneys to do,” said Benton County Attorney David Thompson, after a pre-trial conference with a judge and defense lawyers on Thursday. The Sept. 29 date, said Thompson, depends on the court schedule; it is possible that the trial could take place the following week instead.

See the previous Vinton Today stories about the case below:

Charges filed after fatal accident

Bond hearing



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Comments (1)

This is outrageous and disgusting. He ripped a happy family apart and showed absolutely no remorse. I was at Hailey's funeral, my little girl used to play with her. I've been friends with her mother for almost ten years now. This man doesn't deserve set backs and preparation for his trial. He drove drunk, killed three innocent loving people, and was cognitive enough to try and hide the evidence. Then he was stupid enough to do ut again. This man deserves to rot in jail for the rest of his miserable life having to look at pictures of Hailey, Jason and Valerie. He should also see the amazing survivors they left behind. The ones who have to live everyday without the people that monster killed.
By: Libbi Cousins on March 25th 8:39pm

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