VAN ZANDT COUNTY, Texas — Editor's note: The attached video was produced in December 2021.
A Van Zandt County teen pleaded guilty Thursday to manslaughter in connection with a December wreck that killed an 18-year-old woman who he was trying to scare by swerving across the road.
Alfonso Medina, of Canton, appeared in court and entered his plea in the 294th District Court in relation to the death of Taylor Raper, 18. Judge Chris Martin then set Medina's sentencing hearing for the morning of Sept. 29, according to the court.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said the wreck happened Dec. 17, 2021 on Farm-to-Market Road 1651, about 10 miles south of Canton.
Medina, who was 17 at the time, was traveling west on FM 1651, while another car, driven by Raper, also of Canton, was traveling east on FM 1651, DPS said.
According to officials, Medina recognized Raper's vehicle and knew her as an acquaintance. He swerved over the center stripe divider toward Raper's car to try and scare her.
DPS said Medina struck Raper's car. She was taken to a Tyler hospital, where she later died.
Medina was then charged with manslaughter and providing a false statement to law enforcement officers, police said.
Raper's mom said the day of the crash was her daughter's 18th birthday.
"I cannot put into words the emotions and heartache that is endured, you just have to hope for the next breath to come," Raper's mother said soon after the crash. "At this time, we appreciate everyone honoring our privacy as we try to figure out the beginning of the road to this journey we now find ourselves on. We do ask the public for continued prayer."