Man arrested 16 years after Easter Sunday DUI crash that killed elderly couple

MIAMI (WSVN) - A man convicted of driving drunk and fatally striking an elderly couple 16 years ago has been caught.

Forty-six-year-old Henry de la Hoz was arrested on Thursday after, officials said, he killed an elderly couple and injured others that were heading to an Easter Sunday Mass.

But on Monday afternoon, the victims’ loved ones learned they would have to wait even longer to come face-to-face with the driver.

Frustrated family members vented their frustrations outside a Miami courtroom.

“Well, there’s always something with this guy. We never get justice, and we have to wait another week to see him,” said Victor J. Lisabet, the couple’s son.

“It’s been 16 years, 16 long years, but we will get some closure,” said Maria Lisabet, the couple’s daughter.

The delay in sentencing is due to a logistical issue with the Department of Corrections.

“Very disappointing. We’ve been here too many times, too many times,” said Maria, “and it’s reliving it all over again.”

Victor and Olga Lisabet were on their way to a sunrise church service in Southwest Miami-Dade on the morning of April 20, 2003.

According to officials, de la Hoz had been drinking at a sports bar located on the 9500 block of South Dixie Highway when he attempted to make an illegal U-turn at Southwest 62nd Street.

He crashed into a car that had a group of parishioners on their way to Mass, including the Lisabets. The couple died while three other passengers were seriously injured.

Police arrested the driver responsible on the scene, and after years of legal battles he pleaded guilty to several DUI charges on Sept. 8, 2008.

But on the day of his sentencing, de la Hoz fled the U.S. and lived life as a fugitive for 11 years.

It wasn’t until March of this year that authorities in Costa Rica captured de la Hoz and turned him in to U.S. Marshals.

He was said to have been working in construction in Costa Rica and founded a foundation that aimed to help low-income children learn martial arts.

De la Hoz also started a new life overseas with a spouse and a 10-month-old son.

He was convicted on two counts of driving under the influence with manslaughter, three counts of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury and DUI with damage to property or injury to person.

Now, after 16 years, the Lisabets’ son and daughter are still waiting for closure.

“I think, finally, justice will prevail,” said Maria. “I think we’ll finally have justice and we can continue with our lives.”

De la Hoz will be sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years of probation.

He is set to be transferred to a Florida state prison on May 1 to begin serving his sentence.

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