New Years Day, usually a time of hope for the longer term and new beginnings, turned one in every of nice ache and loss in West Miami-Dade this yr.
An SUV touring 111 miles an hour on West Flagler Road slammed right into a Hyundai Elantra carrying 4 younger adults, killing all of them straight away.
Now, with the discharge of physique digicam footage Friday, one can see how up shut how the tragedy affected those that survived and people known as to assist.
Miami-Dade police officer Britney Lozada was going through east on Flagler when she noticed the Chevrolet Tahoe whiz by her, however earlier than she might flip round to analyze additional, she noticed the collision up forward.
As she walked up, a teen staggered out of the passenger facet of the Tahoe.
“You alright?” she requested. “Have a seat.”
Approaching farther, she noticed the entrance of the SUV embedded into the compact automobile. She could not inform how many individuals had been inside, however she knew nobody had survived.
Shifting to the Tahoe’s driver door, Lozada might hear screams coming from inside.
“I am coming. I am coming. Calm down,” she says calmly as she and a bystander pry open the door revealing a barely dazed however largely unhurt teenager within the driver’s seat.
It was 16-year-old Alex Garcia, who prosecutors allege was driving illegally, unsupervised with solely a learner’s allow, with alcohol and marijuana in his system.
“Yo, break the door. Break the door,” one other teen, nonetheless trapped within the Tahoe, yells, including this evaluation of his good friend the driving force: “Alex, you’re a dumb ass.”
Lozada cuts Garcia’s seat belt and free him.
“I am so sorry,” Garcia says.
“Yeah,” Lozada replies, seeming unimpressed together with his regret, as one lifeless physique lay on the street close by and untold others are entombed within the smoking automobile to their facet.
“I used to be simply dropping off a good friend,” Garcia says.
“Yeah. Come over right here,” Lozada says, directing him to the bus bench the place one in every of his passengers sits.
With all three folks within the Tahoe eliminated, the enormity of the crash hits responding officer. They might later be taught 4 4 younger lives had been misplaced, together with that of the the 21-year-old designated driver, Yuhlia Gelats, an FIU senior.
One officer, approaching her automobile, immediately realizes they by no means had an opportunity.
“Jesus Christ,” he says to himself.
Garcia additionally had a spiritual second earlier than sitting on the curbside. “God, please forgive me,” he stated.
After blood checks revealed he has alcohol and marijuana in his system, Garcia was charged with 4 counts of DUI manslaughter.
An FHP visitors murder investigator testified the scene was the “most horrific” she had ever seen.
Garcia’s lawyer argued for his launch on bond, noting the blood alcohol degree detected two hours after the crash — 0.06 % — was under the 0.08 % authorized restrict for adults. And that merely detecting marijuana within the physique doesn’t set up one was impaired by the drug’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, on the time.
However Miami-Dade Circuit Choose Lody Jean discovered him a “hazard to the neighborhood” and denied bond, an unusually harsh pretrial order for what the choose discovered had been some unusually grievous allegations.
“This court docket is just not satisfied he’ll obey the foundations and act in conformity with the legal guidelines,” she stated.