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Teenager faces charges as adult for DUI crash killing 4 in Miami-Dade

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The teenage boy who stands accused of causing a fatal crash while driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana appeared in Miami-Dade County court on Tuesday.

Alex Garcia, 16, faces charges in the deaths of Yuhlia Gelats Medina, 21; her boyfriend, Christian Mohip, 22; and their two friends, Andres Zacarías, 21, and Jenser Salazar, 21.

From left, Yuhlia Gelats-Medina, 21, Christian Mohip, 22, Andres Zacarias, 21, and Jender Salazar, 21, died in a car crash on New Year's Day in Miami-Dade County. (Courtesy of the Gelats-Medina family)

After the New Year’s Day crash at the intersection of 79th Avenue and Flagler Street, Garcia surrendered to Florida Highway Patrol troopers on March 29.

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

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mindy Glazer disagreed. She said there was probable cause for the four counts of vehicular homicide, four counts of DUI manslaughter, and two counts of DUI serious bodily injury.

Miami-Dade prosecutors announced on Monday that they are charging him as an adult. FHP troopers said Garcia was driving a Chevy Tahoe at 111 mph before he plowed into a Hyundai Elantra. The two teens who were traveling with Garcia in the Chevy Tahoe were injured.

“He tremendously injured the two 16-year-old passengers that occupied his vehicle including one gentleman who remained in the ICU up until recently and has a permanent drain in his head for the spinal fluid he suffered as part of a traumatic brain injury,” said, Genevieve Valle, the prosecutor in the case.

Gelats, who was sober because she was the designated driver, was behind the wheel of the Hyundai Elantra and Mobil, Zacarias, and Salazar were the passengers, according to FHP.

Glazer allowed the victims’ relatives to speak during the hearing. Andres Medina said they set up a memorial where the fatal crash happened, and vandals have damaged it twice.

“We have been tortured by I am guessing Alex’s friends or family members, I don’t know who,” Medina told the judge.

Glazer decided Garcia will be held without bond.

“My daughter was about to graduate from FIU and we’re really hurt by this and we know there’s nothing that can bring her back, but it’s really, it’s really hard for us to see him walk,” Medina said in court.

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About the Authors:

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.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.