Drunk driver gets eight years for killing

Jesus Thomas Ruiz

A Beaumont man pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter and received eight years in prison for the death of James Lunsford, who was killed in March 2012.

Appearing in Judge Layne Walker's court, Jesus Thomas Ruiz pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter Monday, May 6, in the March 14, 2012, killing of Lunsford.

According to an indictment, Ruiz was drunk and under the influence of at least two other substances police found in his blood when he ran a red light and killed Lunsford.

After pleading guilty, Ruiz told Monday's court he was remorseful and that he wrote a letter to the family begging for their forgiveness.

The family wasn't far away Monday, and two family members, Lunsford's daughter and wife, were there to give an impact statement.

"He had a charisma and charm and he accepted people for who they were," Lunsford's daughter said of her father.

As she spoke of her love for her father, Lunsford's daughter said her father was a great roll model and loved music.

"When I was a little girl, I thought my Dad was Elvis Presley," she said, choking back tears.

Facing Ruiz, who was also emotional during the exchange, Lunsford's daughter said her family will work hard to make it without their beloved father.

"Our family still needs him," she said. "He wasn't ready to go. We weren't ready for him to go."