- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—A former Fort Bliss soldier accused of killing two highway workers during the construction of Spur 1966 last year had his bond reduced Monday and said he wants a second chance.

Jan Michael Nieves Delgado, who was 18 at the time, faces charges of intoxicated manslaughter in the deaths of Jimmy Joe Broadstreet, 54, and James Green, 39. The two men were killed on May 11, 2014, after they were hit by a car driven by Nieves on Interstate 10 East near Schuster Avenue during the construction of the Spur 1966 bridge.

“I know for a fact there’s three families, including mine, waiting for the outcome of this case,” Nieves said on the stand at a bond reduction hearing in 168th District Court.

Nieves, who turned 20 earlier this month, said that he will face the consequences and has “high hopes” that he will get probation even as he faces decades in prison.

Nieves has been jailed since his arrest in 2014 under bonds totaling $200,000.

On Monday, Judge Marcos Lizarraga reduced his bond to a $50,000 cash surety bond and a $200,000 personal recognizance bond, where a defendant can be released on a promise they will show up to court. A trial date was set for February. Nieves remained jailed as of early Monday evening.

Lizarraga said that bail is not a punishment, and that its purpose is to ensure a defendant shows up to trial.

Defense lawyer Dave R. Contreras argued the original bail amount was excessive for a person with no criminal record.

“The testimony showed he is a fine young man,” Contreras said. “He wants to have closure, not only for his family and (also) the complaining witnesses’ families. This sad, tragic event was an aberration to his character.”

Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Tarango said Nieves ignored Army regulations against underage drinking and was a potential flight risk because he has no ties to El Paso.

“We are all at risk with an offense like this,” Tarango said.

Nieves was a soldier at Fort Bliss when he allegedly drove through a traffic barricade and into an early morning construction zone, hitting the workers.

Green, of Runaway Bay, Texas, died at the scene. Broadstreet, who friends described as a likeable cowboy from Chaparral, N.M., died at a hospital.

Wearing a red-and-white stripped El Paso County jail jumpsuit, Nieves on Monday did not mention the crash during his testimony.

Nieves said that he is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was living with his mother in Florida for about six years before joining the Army. His mother is an elementary school lunch lady and his stepfather is on Social Security, he said.

Nieves testified that he was an honor student in high school, did school and church charity work and had been in Junior ROTC.

“My dad used to be military and during high school I liked the program — what it taught me about leadership,” he said.

Fort Bliss was his first stop after basic training, he said, mentioning Army certificates he earned on a variety of topics, including accident prevention.

Nieves said that after his arrest, he was dismissed from the Army under “other than honorable conditions.”

If Nieves is able to make bail, he will have a curfew and undergo drug testing, won’t be allowed to leave El Paso County or to drive, and will stay and work with a pastor of a Horizon City church.

Templo Betesda de Gracia Pastor Elisa Serrano testified that he first visited Nieves in jail in January. That was after Nieves’s mother spoke to Serrano’s cousin, who is a pastor in Florida.

“Besides God, my family and Pastor Elias is all I got,” Nieves said. “I have been waiting for a second chance and I believe I deserve it.”

Daniel Borunda may be reached at 546-6102.

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(c)2015 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)

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