16-year-old appears in adult court, faces charges for West Miami-Dade fatal crash

MIAMI (WSVN) - A teenager who, police said, is behind a crash in West Miami-Dade that claimed the lives of four victims faced a judge Tuesday morning.

Alex Garcia, 16, appeared in court and was joined by family members of the victims involved in the New Year’s Day crash.

“He was the only person that emerged from this tragedy unscathed, Your Honor,” a prosecutor said during court.

Garcia faces 10 felony charges, including DUI manslaughter, after a judge on Monday determined he will be charged as an adult.

“I’m being informed by the state that the state has made the decision to file these charges in adult court,” said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Orlando Prescott. “You’ll be transferred from the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center to the Dade County Jail.”

According to Florida Highway Patrol, the 16-year-old had marijuana and alcohol in his system when his vehicle slammed into the victims’ car at West Flagler Street and 79th Avenue.

Garcia’s attorney said the test showed the 16-year-old’s blood-alcohol level was at .062, below the legal limit of .08.

However, according to the arrest report, the blood sample was taken an hour and a half after the crash.

“At this stage in the case, they do not have probable cause of DUI manslaughter,” Garcia’s attorney said.

“There is absolutely probable cause in the four corners of this arrest affidavit — four counts of DUI manslaughter, four counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury,” a prosecutor countered.

The victims, 20-year-old Yuhlia Barzaga, 22-year-old Christian Mohip, 21-year-old Andres Zacarias and 21-year-old Jenser Salazar, all died following the crash. Authorities said Garcia was driving at 111 mph when he slammed into the victims’ vehicle.

During the court hearing on Tuesday, Barzaga’s father, Andres Medina, explained to the judge how the recent vandalism of the crash site memorial has compounded the pain.

“We set up a memorial on 79th Avenue and Flagler Street, and twice it’s been vandalized,” said Medina. “This has taken a lot out of everybody. My daughter was about to graduate now from FIU. We’re really hurt by this, and we know there’s nothing that can bring them back, but it’s really hard.”

Garcia will remain in jail without bond.

The identity of the person who keeps destroying the roadside memorial remains unknown.

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