Teen turns self in following deadly New Year’s Day crash

WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A teenager responsible for a crash that killed four people earlier this year turned himself in to authorities, Monday.

Cameras caught 16-year-old Alex Garcia walking into the Florida Highway Patrol Headquarters in West Miami-Dade with his attorney.

Garcia is accused of being behind the wheel and under the influence when the Chevy Tahoe he was driving struck a Hyundai Elantra along West 79th Street and West Flagler Street.

Twenty-one-year-old Yuhlia Gelats Barzaga, her boyfriend, 22-year-old Christian Mohip, and their friends, 21-year-old Andres Zacarias and 21-year-old Jenser Salazar, were killed instantly as a result of the crash.

Speaking through a translator, Barzaga’s grandmother, Melba Gelats, said she is happy Garcia is off the streets.

“He turned himself in, huh? If he hadn’t, he had to turn himself in. Imagine that,” she said. “What was he going to do? Move to another country? No, he had to turn himself in for what he did. He has to pay for what he did, because he was driving like a maniac.”

According to FHP, Garcia was driving over 100 miles per hour when he slammed into the Hyundai.

“Blood samples that were obtained from the defendant shortly after the crash revealed that the defendant had both marijuana and alcohol in his blood,” said FHP Lt. Alex Camacho.

All four victims were in college. Barzaga was the designated driver among the four.

“Her blood came back with absolutely no alcohol, no drugs, nothing,” said Camacho. “She was doing the right thing once again, whereas, on the other end of it, the 16-year-old defendant was doing the absolute wrong thing.”

Garcia’s attorney said his client is innocent.

“Like anyone else in this situation, he would be nervous, but he faced it like a man. He turned himself in, and we’re gonna deal with it from there,” said Brian Kirlew.

But the pain the victims’ families feel lingers. Gelats said she still feels like her granddaughter might still come home.

“How am I going to feel? It feels like this is a nightmare that I’m having. I don’t know. It seems like she’s going to come back soon, like she just went out or something,” she said. “This has me desperate, desperate. We’re all — the father is dying, the mother, too. Oh, my God, my life. You know what that is? It’s a big thing. Poor her.”

Garcia has been charged with four counts of reckless vehicular homicide, four counts of DUI manslaughter and two counts of DUI serious bodily injury.

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