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Man convicted in racing incident that killed Arkansas couple

Byron Chavez-Velazquez, 18, will spend one year in prison for his role in the killing of Jeremy and Tricia McCool.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Update: Byron Chavez-Velazquez will serve a one-year prison sentence for his role in the killing of Jeremy and Tricia McCool. He also received four days in jail credit to run against the time.

A man pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of negligent homicide after a March 2022 racing incident killed a Pine Bluff couple on Interstate 30 in Little Rock.

Byron Chavez-Velazquez, 18, is facing up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,500 after rear-ending Jeremy and Tricia McCool's car, forcing both vehicles off the road and into a line of trees.

The McCools were thrown from their car and died from their injuries.

"It's absolutely senseless," said Jayson McCool, Jeremy McCool's brother. "I mean, this isn't your Saturday night folks drag racing out in the middle of nowhere. These people are running 120 miles per hour down Interstate 30 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon."

Chavez-Velazquez's charges are only misdemeanors.

"We take it personally because it's our job to protect the people on the roadway," Arkansas State Police Capt. Jeff Sheeler said.

Arkansas State Police began "Operation Safe Streets" last month to increase patrol on highways and city streets. Sheeler said racing is what sparked the operation.

Since then, hundreds of people have been pulled over, and troopers said they don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

The McCool family told us they are attending Chavez-Velazquez's sentencing next week.

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