Miami-Dade County

Video Evidence Against Teen Driver Reveals ‘Most Horrific' Scene

The body worn cameras of first responders show some of the evidence prosecutors used to charge a 16-year-old now being held without bond with four counts of DUI manslaughter.

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New Years Day, normally a time of hope for the future and new beginnings, became one of great pain and loss in West Miami-Dade this year.

An SUV traveling 111 miles an hour on West Flagler Street slammed into a Hyundai Elantra carrying four young adults, killing them all in an instant.

Now, with the release of body camera footage Friday, one can see how up close how the tragedy affected those who survived and those called to help.

Miami-Dade police officer Britney Lozada was facing east on Flagler when she saw the Chevrolet Tahoe whiz by her, but before she could turn around to investigate further, she saw the collision up ahead.

As she walked up, a teen staggered out of the passenger side of the Tahoe.

"You alright?" she asked. "Have a seat."

Approaching farther, she saw the front of the SUV embedded into the compact car. She couldn't tell how many people were inside, but she knew no one had survived.

Moving to the Tahoe's driver door, Lozada could hear screams coming from inside.

"I'm coming. I'm coming. Relax," she says calmly as she and a bystander pry open the door revealing a slightly dazed but largely uninjured teenager in the driver's seat.

It was 16-year-old Alex Garcia, who prosecutors allege was driving illegally, unsupervised with only a learner’s permit, with alcohol and marijuana in his system.

"Yo, break the door. Break the door," another teen, still trapped in the Tahoe, yells, adding this assessment of his friend the driver: "Alex, you’re a dumb ass."

Lozada cuts Garcia's seat belt and free him.

"I'm so sorry," Garcia says.

"Yeah," Lozada replies, seeming unimpressed with his remorse, as one dead body lay in the street nearby and untold others are entombed in the smoking car to their side.

"I was just dropping off a friend," Garcia says.

"Yeah. Come over here," Lozada says, directing him to the bus bench where one of his passengers sits.

 With all three people in the Tahoe removed, the enormity of the crash hits responding officer. They would later learn four four young lives were lost, including that of the the 21-year-old designated driver, Yuhlia Gelats, an FIU senior.

One officer, approaching her car, instantly realizes they never had a chance.

"Jesus Christ," he says to himself.

 Garcia also had a religious moment before sitting on the curbside. "God, please forgive me," he said.

 After blood tests revealed he has alcohol and marijuana in his system, Garcia was charged with four counts of DUI manslaughter.

An FHP traffic homicide investigator testified the scene was the "most horrific" she had ever seen.

Garcia's lawyer argued for his release on bond, noting the blood alcohol level detected two hours after the crash -- 0.06 percent -- was below the 0.08 percent legal limit for adults. And that merely detecting marijuana in the body does not establish one was impaired by the drug's psychoactive ingredient, THC, at the time.

But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Lody Jean found him a "danger to the community" and denied bond, an unusually harsh pretrial order for what the judge found were some unusually grievous allegations.

"This court is not convinced he will obey the rules and act in conformity with the laws," she said.

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