Teen Suspect Who Police Said Caused Deadly New Year's Day Crash Now Behind Bars

CBS4's Karli Barnett reports 16-year-old Alex Garcia turned himself in Monday afternoon.

Video Transcript

ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: And now new at 5:30, after nearly three months, a suspect, police say, caused a horrific crash early New Year's Day is behind bars. 16-year-old Alex Garcia is facing multiple charges for the crash that claimed the lives of four people just hours into the new year.

KARLI BARNETT: Authorities say Garcia should never have been behind the wheel in the first place. He only had a learner's permit when he got behind the wheel that night with two other teenagers.

After nearly three months, 16-year-old Alex Garcia has turned himself in to police in connection to a deadly New Year's Eve crash. It happened along West Flagler Street near 79th Avenue. It claimed the lives of four people in another vehicle. Garcia was taken into custody at Florida Highway Patrol's Sweetwater headquarters.

ALEX CAMACHO: Video surveillance footage of the intersection shows that the Hyundai stopped for the flashing red light before attempting to turn onto Flagler Street. She waited at the intersection before attempting to turn. She was unable to make it across the intersection because the defendant was driving at such a high rate of speed and failed to slow down, as required by flashing yellow lights.

KARLI BARNETT: Authorities say Garcia and two other 16-year-olds were traveling more than 110 miles an hour at the time of the crash. All of them only had their learner's permits. Investigators say the crash was so severe, Garcia's vehicle sent it nearly 300 feet away. That's the length of a football field. A toxicology report found Garcia had drugs and alcohol in his system. His attorneys cite a lack of evidence.

BRIAN KIRLEW: Well, we're entering a plea of not guilty. We have absolutely zero facts, zero evidence. So our position is he is not guilty. He is innocent as far as the DUI manslaughter counts are concerned. I don't know what the government is resting their allegations on. I haven't seen anything yet. But there will be a time for that.

KARLI BARNETT: The victims were 21-year-old Yuhlia Bargaza, 22-year-old Christian Mohip, 21-year-old Andres Zacarias, and 21-year-old Jenser Salazar. Garcia is facing four counts of reckless vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter, and two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury.

ALEX CAMACHO: This is obviously tragic. This impacted a total of seven families, whose lives will forever be changed. And on one end of the spectrum, you have a 21-year-old female who was absolutely doing the right thing on the night of New Year's Eve, on the night-- well, actually early into New Year's Day morning-- doing the right thing.

The other end of it, the 16-year-old defendant was doing the absolute wrong thing. First of all, he's driving. 16 years old with a learner's permit, not even allowed to be driving by himself. He's got marijuana in his blood, he's got alcohol in his blood, and he's doing 111 miles an hour, driving recklessly. Two people doing the exact opposite things met this way. It's a tragedy that could have 100% been avoidable.

ELIOTT RODRIGUEZ: Now at 5:30, a driver was killed after police say he lost control and hit a pole. Chopper 4 was over the scene this morning, where you can see the car was practically split in half from the impact. Now, this happened near Northwest 82nd Street and 5th Avenue in Miami. Miami-Dade police say they had to extricate the driver, who was then rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries. The crash remains under investigation.