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“Money Will Not Bring Him Back,” Sister of Venezuelan Athlete Killed By Drunk Driver

Jesús Yáñez and Dennys Yáñez, brother and sister of the Venezuelan athlete who died on Sunday after being hit by a drunk driver, arrived Monday in Costa Rica. In the photo, they outside the San Jose Courts to be part of the judicial process against the drunk driver. (Rafael Murillo, La Nacion)

“Money will not bring back David, money is not happiness, the drunk driver who hit my brother committed a crime and has to pay for his acts, that simple…we felt bad knowing that he (suspect) is at home today, we are outraged,” was the reaction of Dennys Yáñez on learning that the driver who killed her brother was released, with only precautionary measures.

Venezuelan national David Yáñez was struck down Sunday morning while participating in the 2017 edition of the San Jose Half Marathon when a drunk driver struck him down after disrespecting a traffic police checkpoint. David died in hospital minutes after his arrival. The driver was identified by his last name Blandon and is 26 years of age.

In the early hours of Monday morning, a judge released Blandon, with the condition that he sign in at the courthouse every 15 days and maintain a fixed address, confirmed Luis Cubillo, lawyer or the victim’s family.

Dennys and her brother Jesús Yáñez, who arrived in Costa Rica on Monday, declared that they will be seeing this case through to the end. The lawyer representing the Venezuelans said the Yáñez’s went to the Courts on Tuesday to become a party to the judicial process and appeal the release. A new hearing could be within the next five days.

The lawyer representing the Venezuelans said the Yáñez’s went to the Courts on Tuesday to become a party to the judicial process and appeal the release. A new hearing could be within the next five days.

“What if that drunken guy not only ran over my brother but had run over several others? Would they have let him go so fast?” Dennys questioned.

“He (David) came to Costa Rica pursuing his sports dream, and better conditions, he had plans to establish permanently in this country (Costa Rica),” declared Jesus.

According to Dennys and Jesus, their brother David began his career in sports at the age of 12 and in Costa Rica finished first and second place in several competitions.

Anguished by high cost

The cost of repatriating the body to Venezuela is approximately US$15,000. To cover the expense, the family is hopeful for the assistance of the Venezuelan Embassy in Costa Rica and the organizers of the marathon, given that David died while competing in the event.

David’s siblings said Mario Reyes, manager of the race, has so far not formally communicated with them, nor have they been informed of the coverage of the insurance policy the organizers maintained for the event.

Through a press release, the organizer assured that they had all the necessary permits (that included an insurance policy) for the race. “We have all the security measures that are always taken, there is a protocol that we will follow strictly. There are things that we can not control,” said the press release.