Family Frustrated While Waiting for Justice

Family of man killed by drunken driver angry about repeated delays

The family of a White Settlement man who was killed while mowing his lawn says they are frustrated the drunken driver who hit him has not been sentenced.

Claudio Ochoa was killed in May 2006. Lisa Cook was arrested at the scene and later charged with intoxication manslaughter. She pleaded guilty in October, before the case went to trial.

"There is no reason for it to have taken two and a half years, no reason at all,” his sister, Fabi Ochoa, said.

Cook apologized after the incident but had no comment when reached at her River Oaks home Wednesday.

"It's not fair,” Fabi Ochoa said. “She's still here. My brother is gone."

The court case was delayed numerous times, court records show.

"We just want to have it over with; have it done with already,” said Claudio Ochoa's son Andrew, 18, a high school senior.

Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Betty Arvin said the delays were routine but regrettable.

"We all can get very frustrated sometimes by these delays,” she said. "Any time is a long wait for a family that wants to see justice in a case."

Prosecutors asked for a delay when a key witness was out of town, and defense attorneys asked for a delay to allow their expert to examine evidence, Arvin said.

Another early delay came when prosecutors re-indicted Cook to clarify the charges, Arvin said.

Prosecutors generally try to close felony cases within one to two years, and this one has taken longer than usual, Arvin said.

Cook's sentencing was set for Wednesday, but the court date was re-scheduled until a pre-sentence investigation is completed.

"Delay after delay -- yes, that's what it is," Fabi Ochoa said.

Claudio Ochoa, a father of three, was a railroad engineer for Union Pacific.

Cook’s new sentencing date is Jan. 23. Prosecutors said that date also is tentative.

"The defendant will get her just sentence at some point in time, and I wish it could be sooner rather than later," Arvin said.

"It's hard,” said Fabi Ochoa. “I understand the justice system. I understand a year. But two years, almost three years?"

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