Highlander driver charged with murder for crash that killed City of Sugar Land employee

SUGAR LAND, Texas — A suspect involved in a crash that resulted in the death of a City of Sugar Land employee has been charged with murder by the Sugar Land Police Department. Joseph Aponte, 56, was killed on U.S. Highway 90A at Gillingham Lane when a red light was run by 40-year-old Overeth Riascos Barahona, who was driving a Toyota Highlander. Barahona, who has a lengthy criminal history, was released from the hospital Saturday and arrested on the murder charge.

The chase that led to the crash was initiated by Missouri City Police officers pursuing Barahona and two passengers who were suspected of burglary. A detainer was placed on Barahona by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as he is a native of Colombia. The passengers, whose identities have not been disclosed, have been charged with burglary. Stolen property was found inside the Highlander after the crash.

The City of Sugar Land posted on its Facebook page that a black bar with Joseph Aponte’s name would be placed on Public Works vehicles to honor his memory. Aponte, who had been a first responder in the city’s Public Works Department for about a year, is remembered by Mayor Joe Zimmerman as a dedicated public servant. Funeral services for Aponte are scheduled for February 13 at Triska Funeral Home. The city will be assisting the family with covering funeral expenses, and a donation website has been set up for those who would like to help.