Crash in Mont Belvieu: Teens Killed, Driver Charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide

Crash in Mont Belvieu: Teens Killed, Driver Charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide
Rubin Rene Villarreal

On Tuesday, January 16th, at approximately 10:30 a.m., the Mont Belvieu Police Department (MBPD) responded to a report of a one-vehicle crash in the 1700 block of FM 565 North at East Winfree Avenue.

Upon arrival, officers found a 2009 Ford Explorer Sport Trac that had failed to negotiate a curve, left the roadway, and collided with a utility pole and a tree. The impact ejected one passenger. Weather conditions were reported as dry and ice-free at the time.

The occupants of the vehicle included the driver, 20-year-old Rubin Rene Villarreal, a Hispanic male from Baytown, TX, along with two passengers: 17-year-old Presley Elizabeth Cauthen, a white female from Mont Belvieu, and 14-year-old Kailei Nicole Rhodes, a white female from Baytown.

Both Rhodes and Cauthen were pronounced deceased at the scene by Chambers County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Blake Sylvia. Next-of-kin notifications have been made by MBPD.

Villarreal, who sustained injuries, was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and later released. Following his release, MBPD arrested Villarreal, charging him with two counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide (each with a $250,000 bond) and one count of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon (with a $25,000 bond).

Further investigation revealed that Villarreal had three outstanding felony warrants with no bond out of Harris County for Aggravated Robbery, Burglary, and Evading Detention in a Vehicle. Villarreal was booked into the Mont Belvieu PD Holding Facility before being transferred to the Chambers County Jail.

FM 565 was closed for several hours while the MBPD Accident Reconstruction Team conducted their investigation, and CenterPoint Energy crews replaced the damaged utility pole.

The incident remains an active investigation.