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Teen responsible for New Year’s crash that killed 4 people turns himself in, will plead not guilty

A 16-year-old who authorities said caused a deadly crash on New Year’s Day turned himself in to face charges.
A 16-year-old who authorities said caused a deadly crash on New Year’s Day turned himself in to face charges.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A teenager who authorities said caused a deadly crash on New Year’s Day turned himself in to face charges.

Troopers said the 16-year-old was behind the wheel of an SUV that slammed into a smaller car, killing all four people inside.

As the families continue to grieve for the victims, new information is coming out about how that tragic crash occurred.

According to Florida Highway Patrol, the 16-year-old, identified as Alex Garcia, does not have a driver’s license, only a learner’s permit.

16-year-old Alex Garcia turns himself in to Florida Highway Patrol troopers. (WPLG)

They also said that according to the car’s data recorder, one second before the crash Garcia was driving 111 miles per hour.

Investigators said on Monday that the teen is facing some very serious charges.

“Four counts of reckless vehicular homicide, four counts of DUI manslaughter and two counts of DUI with serious bodily injury,” said Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alex Camacho.

The crash happened only hours into 2021, at the intersection of Southwest 79th Avenue and Flagler street.

Investigators said 21-year-old Yuhlia Gelats-Medina was driving in a Hyundai Elantra with her boyfriend, 22-year-old Christian Mobil, and their friends, 21-year-old’s Andres Zacarias and Jender Salazar.

As she made a legal left turn onto Flagler Street, that’s when authorities said Garcia allegedly plowed through the intersection in a Chevy Tahoe going more than 100 miles per hour.

“The Tahoe collided into the Hyundai in the intersection, killing all four occupants in the Hyundai immediately,” Lt. Camacho said.

Garcia and the two other 16-year-old’s in the Tahoe were taken to the hospital, but they all survived.

Detectives say Garcia tested positive for having alcohol and marijuana in his blood, while tests on Gelats-Medina, who was acting as the designated driver for her friends that night, showed she was entirely sober.

“Two people doing the exact opposite things met this way,” Lt. Camacho said. “It’s a tragedy that could have 100% been avoidable.”

The crash was so violent the cars stopped about a football field’s distance away from where the initial collision happened.

Local 10 did speak with Garcia’s attorney briefly, and he said they are entering a plea of not guilty.


About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.