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16-Year-Old Alex Garcia, Who Police Said Caused Fatal New Year's Day Crash, To Remain Locked Up

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Three months since a violent New Year's Day crash claimed four young lives, the teenage driver investigators say is responsible now knows he will spend another three weeks locked up.

Alex Garcia's attorney had hoped to get the 16-year-old out of juvenile detention.

But on Tuesday, the judge ruled against his release.

Garcia appeared in court a day after turning himself in at FHP headquarters in connection with a deadly New Year's Day crash along West Flagler Street near 79 Avenue that claimed the lives of four people in another car.

"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," said FHP Lt. Alex Camacho.

Garcia appeared in court virtually. His family watched with the help of an interpreter as the judge read the arrest affidavit.

Authorities said Garcia and two other 16-year-olds were traveling about 111 mph at the time of the crash along West Flagler near 79 Avenue. All of them only had their learners permits.

A toxicology report found Garcia had drugs and alcohol in his system.

Garcia's attorney asked for him to be placed on supervised release pending his next court hearing.

"We did not run from these charges. We did not make it difficult to be brought in to custody. We faced head on," said Garcia family attorney Brian Kirlew.

The victims were 21-year-old Yuhlia Gelats Barzaga, 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.

"We're asking for the court to authorize supervised release with a monitor. Mr. Garcia is 16 years of age, he's a student, QB of the football team, he has good grades. His blood alcohol level of 062 and 061, but it is below the legal limit," Kirlew said.

Prosecutors wanted him held in secure detention. And in the end, the judge agreed, announcing Garcia will be held until April 19.

The state attorney's office is considering charging Garcia as an adult.


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