Jury sentences Port Arthur man to 20 years for crash that killed police officer

Published 5:40 pm Monday, July 25, 2022

UPDATE: The jury sentenced Luis Torres to 20 years in jail. He previously rejected a plea agreement where he could have spent 30 years in jail. Before this week’s sentencing, he faced up to life in prison.

(Original story)

BEAUMONT — Jurors are deliberating the punishment phase in the intoxication manslaughter case of Luis Torres.

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Torres, 20, of Port Arthur was found guilty in the death of Beaumont Police Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell last week in Judge John Stevens’ courtroom.

Torres faces five to 99 years in prison on the charge.

Torres took the stand Monday saying he was disgusted with himself and he made a stupid choice.

He also told jurors he was black-out drunk and didn’t remember getting in the crash that killed Yarbrough-Powell.

He said there are no words of apology that can ever reverse his actions and he didn’t wake up that morning saying he wanted to take someone’s life.

Torres said the last thing he remembered the night of the crash was spilling a beverage while at a gathering before going to the restroom.

Torres’ mother sobbed while testifying, saying the crash destroyed her family. She described a loving son who was her right hand.

She also said, through a translator, she feels for the family of the officer.

But the prosecution brought up the fact that the Ford Mustang Torres was driving at the time of the crash was registered in his mother’s name and she knowingly let him drive without a license.

A forensic science teacher/coach at Bob Hope School told jurors of how Torres was involved in high school academics and leadership activities and played tennis.

Torres was 20 on Aug. 9 2020, when he drove the wrong way on Cardinal Drive near Texas 347, hitting a Beaumont Police Department patrol unit head-on.

The wreck killed 23-year-old officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell and injured 28-year-old officer Gabriel Fells.