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Brother of teen killed in crash speaks about fugitive suspect found

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Jeremy Jackson has waited 17 years for the man charged with killing his younger brother to face the justice system. Jeremy Jackson has waited 17 years for the man charged with killing his younger brother to face the justice system.
High school seniors Steven Jackson (pictured here) and Charles Avalos were killed in a car crash on I-37 when they were returning from a camping trip in 2000. High school seniors Steven Jackson (pictured here) and Charles Avalos were killed in a car crash on I-37 when they were returning from a camping trip in 2000.
George Rodriguez is charged with intoxicated manslaughter, but has evaded authorities for the past 15 years in Mexico. George Rodriguez is charged with intoxicated manslaughter, but has evaded authorities for the past 15 years in Mexico.
CORPUS CHRISTI -

A man named George Rodriguez is sitting in the Nueces County Jail tonight. He has a court hearing tomorrow for an accident he was involved in back in 2000. That crash on Interstate 37 killed two high school seniors. 

One of the victims was Steven Jackson, and his brother Jeremy Jackson say since that tragic crash, not a day that's gone by when the family has not thought about their loss.

Until now, Rodriguez has evaded authorities. Now after all these years, the Jackson family is grateful that the justice process can finally play out. 

"This is a picture of him right before he went to the Flour Bluff Favorite's Dance," Jeremy Jackson said, holding a photo of his brother in a suit and tie. 

It is one of the last photographs taken of the 17-year-old. He made it to the dance, but never to his high school graduation.

"He never got to attend my older brother's wedding, he missed out on a lot of birthdays. He never got to meet my wife, he never got to meet my kids," Jackson said. 

In March of 2000, Steven and his friend Charles Avalos were returning from a camping trip. They were killed car accident on I-37.

"Hit by a Dodge Ram, going on I-37 on the wrong side of the freeway," Jackson said. "I remember being, just numb through the whole thing."

Now gone, Steven's memory is alive in his childhood home, where his older brother Jeremy still lives. He hangs photos of Steven and a poem written about him by their grandfather in his younger brother's old bedroom. 

"We were two years apart so we were very close," Jackson said. "I remember him being a great listener."

Jackson has gone on 17 years without his brother.

"There have been a lot of ups and downs since then, as you can imagine," he said. 

However for the past 15 years, the man charged with intoxicated manslaughter for the teenagers' deaths has been in Mexico.

George Rodriguez skipped his 2002 court date, then evaded authorities for years. This July, investigators from Corpus Christi and Mexico City located him in Piedras Negras, Mexico, across the border from Eagle Pass.

He was extradited to the United States, and tomorrow, Rodriguez appears before a county judge. 

"You go through all these different emotions. We never thought this day would come," Jackson said. 

Yet now with the day upon them, the Jackson family hopes to gain some closure.

"As a family we're excited to move forward with this process, and seek justice for my brother Steven and his friend Charles," Jackson said. 

Although their loss can never be replaced. 

"We celebrate his memory. We focus more on his life than his death," Jackson said. "You try to hold on to what pictures you have, what memories you have of him."

Since his brother's death, Jackson has spoken to hundreds of local students about the consequences of drinking and driving. 

He and his family will be in court tomorrow morning when Rodriguez appears before the judge.

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