Crime

LCPD: Driver involved in deadly pedestrian crash to be charged with Murder

EL PASO, Texas - The 50-year-old driver of the GMC Yukon who ran over two pedestrians May 7, 2017 is expected to be charged with two felony counts of first-degree Murder, Las Cruces Police said Wednesday.

Carlos C. Garcia, of the 4200 block of Winters Street, remains hospitalized in stable condition at University Medical Center of El Paso.

Police said formal charges are pending service of a warrant or grand jury indictment.

The deadly crash on Valley View Avenue killed 29-year-old Denise Chavez and 36-year-old Arturo Cordova.

Police were dispatched to the crash at the intersection of Valley View Avenue and Winters Street at about 4 a.m. Officers arrived to find Chavez and Cordova unresponsive and both were pronounced dead on scene.

A critically-injured Garcia was airlifted to UMC.

Investigators learned the victims, Chavez and Cordova, were cousins at a reunion with family and friends at a home on the 4100 block of Calle Americana.

That Saturday evening, the group was watching a boxing match on television and the gathering continued into the early morning hours.

At about 3 a.m., Garcia arrived at the home, claiming he was looking for a friend. The group welcomed Garcia and allowed him to stay at the party.

Investigators learned, that after about 45 minutes, Garcia was asked to leave when he acted inappropriately toward Chavez.

While leaving, Garcia allegedly chugged a half bottle of vodka and took a few beers from the home. Police said Chavez, Cordova and another relative followed Garcia, who got into his Yukon and began taunting the partygoers by revving the engine  and driving up and down the roadway.

Police said the partygoers followed Garcia onto Valley View and watched as the Yukon sped east toward North Las Cruces Park and then west past the group.

Garcia made another u-turn on Valley View and allegedly sped east toward the group. Investigators determined the Yukon jumped the curb and struck Chavez and Cordova prior to slamming into a rock wall at the intersection of Valley View and Winters.

Investigators learned from the vehicle's Crash Data Recorder the Yukon was traveling 53 mph a second prior to the crash. The data also indicated that Garcia was not wearing a seatbelt and never applied brakes prior to the crash.


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